Civic leaders, businesses, schools and community volunteers have all joined together in Hailey, Idaho to form an organization to reduce the use of plastic bags in the city. Called the ‘Just Bag It’ campaign, the grassroots organization began just three weeks ago.
Hailey, about midway between Boise and Idaho Falls, is located next to Sawtooth National Forest. It is also part of Sun Valley, being just ten miles from the ski lifts of the famous resort. In 2008, the population was just over 7800 citizens.
“Our mission is to reduce the number of plastic bags given away by stores”, stated Elizabeth Jeffrey, project manager and contact person for the campaign. “We want to make a notable shift in how our citizens and merchants view their relationship to single use plastic bags.”
Three local businesses, the biggest bag users, have joined as partners in the project along with the Chamber of Commerce. To track results, the businesses provided a count of the number of bags they ordered in 2009 and will supply a follow-up number for 2010.
The ‘Just Bag It’ campaign has organized the following efforts to reduce plastic bag use:
- The three businesses will re-train cashiers in handling bags at checkout. Instead of just bagging everything, the cashiers will ask if the customer needs a bag.
- A public outreach campaign will promote the use of reusable bags to local residents and tourists. The campaign will include three advertisements in the local newspaper.
- All three stores will go bag free on Earth Day on April 22, 2010. 3000 reusable bags, provided by an EPA grant, will be given out for the Earth Day Event. The bags are expected to be ready by late February.
- Each of the businesses will supply a plastic bag recycling bin at their entrance.
- Schools: high school environmental clubs have joined the campaign; high school and middle school students will participate in a contest to create a logo for the campaign; elementary aged kids will be making posters for local merchants and art projects to build awareness.
- Local citizens will be creating awareness videos to be placed online on YouTube.
‘Just Bag It’ was originally conceived as a one year project. “We hope that this will extend beyond 2010, beyond our community, and beyond plastic bags at the checkout”, stated Ms. Jeffrey.
The campaign may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org