Dear Editor

Monday May 03, 2021

May 11th, voting day, is right around the corner. As an active member of my community I wanted to take the opportunity to remind my friends and neighbors they have the chance to vote to make Rowley a bit “greener” by voting Yes on the Rowley Plastic Bag Reduction By Law Ballot Question. But wait, what does the question even mean and why does your “Yes” vote matter?

The ballot question, a non-binding referendum, will give the Rowley Board of Selectmen a pulse on the feelings/opinions of Rowley voters regarding the development of a plastic bag reduction bylaw. A “Yes” vote will indicate to the Board you are in support of a plastic bag reduction in Rowley, which is significant as we are a shopping hub for numerous nearby towns, many that already have bag bylaws in place. How frustrating it must be to live in a neighboring town that has ceased using plastic bags only to come shop in Rowley and see multitudes of single use plastic bags in people’s shopping carts (or floating in the breeze, waving in a tree, or languishing on the side of the road).
It is easy to become blind to the perils of plastic but truly, they are a doozy. If you have a kid like I do, love your pets, enjoy nature, find ocean animals magnificent or, want to help your grandkids have a healthier future, plastic has to go!
Opinions count but facts matter:

  • According to Waste Management, only 1 percent of plastic bags are returned for recycling.
  •         The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year
  •         It takes 500 (or more) years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. becoming microplastics that continue to pollute the environment.
  •         The average lifespan (use) of a single use plastic bag is 12 minutes.

Here’s the thing and we all know it; a plastic bag reduction in Rowley won’t solve our climate crisis, won’t get rid of all plastic (just look in our grocery carts, full of plastic containers that luckily consumers are starting to demand be made of biodegradable or recyclable material) and doesn’t mean we’ll see no trash in town, but it’s a start, and the good news is we’re not alone. 140 municipalities in Massachusetts have already restricted the distribution of single-use plastic bags at checkout, including in the surrounding communities of Ipswich, Newburyport, Georgetown, Hamilton, and Topsfield. If these other municipalities can do it so can we. If you’re not already in the habit of bringing your own reusable bag it might be odd at first, but just like other changes, grabbing your bag will become second nature. And you’ll feel great when your kids or grandkids ask how you are helping the planet (you know they will at some point) and you can explain why you ditched plastic bags.
​I do sincerely hope Rowley residents will vote Yes for the Plastic Bag Reduction ballot question. Your vote can be your voice to let the Rowley Board of Selectmen know you are open to the conversation of reducing plastic bags in our beautiful, coastal town. The Rowley inhabitants, animals, fish, birds and even humans will thank you!

Laura DIPersia

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