In Jackson, people use and toss 5 million plastic bags annually. Sound like a lot for Jackson? Well, that number is according to local grocers. They say that’s a conservative estimate. Local officials hope to change that with a plastic bag ban implemented Monday, April 15. Councilman Jim Stanford has been pushing for a plastic bag-free Jackson since long before he sat on the council. He says he has seen firsthand how plastic bags have become a fixture of the landscape.
“Years ago … I went to the dump just to take a look at it myself. Where does Teton County’s trash wind up? A lot of people think, ‘well, you throw a plastic bag in the trash and then it’s gone, it gets buried.’ What struck me was along the perimeter of the landfill was a wire fence and it was absolutely plastered with plastic bags because when these things are dumped … the wind takes them and blows them everywhere.”
The problem with that, besides the obvious issues of litter, researchers say, is that plastic bags break down into microplastics that enter our water supply and the food chain.
KHOL also sat down with Carrie Bell, waste diversion and outreach coordinator for Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling. She explains how she and her colleagues have been preparing the community for the plastic bag ban and its environmental implications in Jackson.