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What Do Plastic, Beaches and Art Have in Common?

We’ve all been to the beach and likely seen litter and plastic pieces strewn about. Hopefully most of the pieces and tossed in the recycling bin. Sadly, a lot of plastic in our oceans. The Algalita Foundation, which monitors ocean pollution, estimates that 80% of marine debris comes from humans on land. Of that, 65% comes from consumer used plastics that have been disposed of improperly. Even if you live inland, plastics can make their way to the ocean and into our local waterways. Not all of it is captured before it races out to sea. Once at sea, it can travel hundreds upon hundreds of miles and float around for decades on end.


Some of this plastic returns to shore, but much of it swirls around in what some call the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, which is an area in the North Pacific’s Subtropical Gyre. Essentially this vast area is a plastic soup vortex where debris gets caught and doesn’t leave. That’s a lot of plastic, which can harm and kill aquatic life when they confuse the pieces for food.  Let’s not also ignore that the plastic that makes its way to the shore is a very nasty sight for us beach goers.


In an effort to educate the public about the problem, as well as to visualize how much plastic is actually out there, artists Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang of Northern California have been making art with the plastic they find on their local beach for the past thirty years. While inspiring, their work is also striking in its ability to convey plastic’s real impact on our planet.


Check out Richard and Judith’s work and hear why they continue to produce art with the plastics they collect in the video below.

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Victorville Albertsons Promotes Reusable Bag Use with "Pay It Forward" Program

Have you ever stood in line at a grocery store, reusable bag in hand, and wondered why everyone was choosing plastic?  At those moments you probably wished you could hand out reusable bags and explain how plastics are polluting our environment.


You aren’t alone: Albertsons in Victorville feels your pain. In response, Albertsons holds occasional Pay it Forward Days that allows a customer to purchase a bag that is then given to the customer who shops after them.alt


Sounds pretty cool right? Well, we sure think so, and we decided to chat with Colleen Webster, the General Manager of Albertsons in Victorville, and one of the partners for our Reusable Bag Campaign. Her store will be holding a Pay It Forward Day on Saturday April 2 to correspond with a Zero Waste Reusable Bag Campaign tabling at the store.  Also, starting the week of April 4, Albertsons and Zero Waste will be starting a month-long promotion that will allow residents using reusable bags to enter a drawing to win a $50 Albertsons gift card. Be sure to visit us!




Zero Waste Communities: Hi Colleen! Could you tell us a little about Pay it Forward?


Colleen Webster: Certainly, the Pay It Forward program is a simple way to promote reusable bag use here in Victorville. It’s a great way to show our neighborliness as well as help the environment. Last time we held a Pay It Forward Day over 400 bags were sold!


Zero Waste Communities: Wow, that’s great! Have you seen a lot of those bags in circulation at your store after that day?


Colleen Webster: We sure have, We see lots of those reusable bags come back through our lines. There has been a big increase in reusable bag use in the last couple of years and we are happy to support that.


Zero Waste Communities: Did you develop the Pay iIt Forward program?


Colleen Webster: I wish I did! No, it’s actually an Albertsons corporate idea that we’ve been pretty successful with.


Zero Waste Communities: What are some of the impacts of the program?


Colleen Webster: Well, there are two things that come to mind. First, the less plastic bags we give out, the more money we save. But most importantly, it’s good for the environment. Plastic bags end up in our landfill. They also blow in the wind and get stuck in trees and shrubs. I have never once seen a reusable bag in a tree.


The program also gets people thinking about these issues and that’s a good thing.

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