Saturday, July 19, 2008
By Keith R. Schmitz
This morning as a slight mist that grew into a driving rain, scores of volunteers fanned out across the Village of Shorewood to drop a reusable shopping bag at the door step of every house and apartment within its one square mile area.
Sustainable Shorewood is the group behind the effort. Made up of the members of the Village of Shorewood Conservation Board, which was formed last year by the village government, Sustainable Shorewood is looking to drive programs like this in the future.
This program is already getting national press, being one of the first such effort in the state and maybe in the country. One Shorewood resident was looking forward to his bag after his father called from Arizona after seeing the story on the program.
Plastic bags are a major fill in land fills. Many of them will take decades if not centuries to degrade. Just to give you some idea the local Pick and Save -- one the smallest in the chain -- uses about two pallets of plastic bags every week.
The really great feature about the Shorewood bag drop is this shows what can come out of a partnership of government, local business, and some great bottom up activism. The cost of the shopping bags was totally supported through donations by businesses, and the logistics was completely grassroots.
Jenny Achuthan, one of the organizers of the bag drop hopes other communities can learn from Shorewood's experience and organize a program of their own. Anyone who is interested is encouraged to reach Sustainable Shorewood through their web site.
The other wonderful aspect of this program was the involvement of Jenny and the other organizers who were under age forty. Most of the volunteers were families who involved their very young children in assembling the bag packages and going door to door.
Thanks to the efforts of the group, Shorewood has a start in bagging the plastic bag problem.