Home News Local news Reusable Bag Giveaway Aimed at Reducing Litter, Increasing Environmental Awareness

Reusable Bag Giveaway Aimed at Reducing Litter, Increasing Environmental Awareness

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Dec. 16, 2006 — While supplies last, shoppers at Food Town supermarket will have a choice of plastic or cloth grocery bags.
The 100 percent mesh-cotton bags, which are reusable, were doled out to customers Saturday as part of the St. Croix Environmental Association's Crucian Pride campaign.
"Crucian Pride, We're on the Turtle's Side" is a partnership between SEA, the Nature Conservancy and RARE, an international conservation organization, said Karisma Elien of SEA, the campaign manager.
"We're basically trying to get the message out to the community and connecting the reusable bags to trying to cut down litter on the island," Elien said. "By using the turtle, we are connecting what happens on the marine side when we litter."
Louise, the group's leatherback-turtle mascot, was also on hand, greeting customers and giving out bags. She asked residents to "be proud of the beautiful island where they live and to show pride by keeping litter in its place."
"Birds and marine animals can become tangled in litter that washes into the ocean, resulting in injury or death," Louise said. "And chemicals disposed of through the public sewer system or dumped on the ground are washed into the ocean, causing damage to corals and other marine life."
If residents just change their habits, she said, they can minimize those problems.
Elien and other members of SEA stood at the store's entrance from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, speaking with shoppers at the LaGrande Princesse market about littering, and using the mesh-cotton bags in place of plastic. Inside the store, baggers placed customers' groceries in their new reusable bags.
Food Town has also agreed to help distribute the bags at its store following Saturday's kickoff, Elien said. The SEA's Christiansted headquarters will also distribute the bags.
"The community loves the idea," Elien said. "We have people who got them who said they've never used them before and will be happy to."
One of those people was Donah Brow of Upper Love, who dashed in for three items on her way home.
"It's a good idea," she said as she walked out of the store. "First, you don't have to kill the turtles, and I can take this even when I travel and have to pick up a few groceries."
Manuel Nelson Smith modeled his bag over his shoulders before giving his approval.
"It's pretty nice," he said. "I work at HOVENSA, so I can use it two ways — as a lunch bag and as a grocery bag. I'll already have it in my car, so when I come from work I can get my groceries."
Food Town Manager Solomon Ali praised SEA's efforts and said he was happy to help in the promotion of the reusable bags.
"Everybody would love to see the island stay clean and beautiful and for people to stop littering," he said. "By promoting these bags, we hope we help educate them that reusable bags are much better than plastic."
Many of Food Town's customers already use reusable bags, Ali said.
"We have clients who bring in their cloth bags all the time," he said. "It cuts down on the plastic that goes out."
Still, he said, he doesn't believe that the store will go completely plastic-free.
"That would be great if we can, but we have people who ask for it, so we have it," Ali said. "But with the reusable bags, it cuts down on how much plastic bags we give out."
To contact SEA, call 773-1989 or click here.
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