Facebook group pushes to solve plastic bag problem

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Local community members are coming together to make their city more environmentally friendly.

The Environmental Policy Group stemmed from a Facebook group, Environmentally Minded People.
One of the group’s biggest concerns is the environmental impact of plastic bags.

Los Angeles is the largest city in the United States to ban them, and while the group recognizes that that solution may not work out here, they’re open to ideas.

“Maybe this is something that needs to be talked about and needs to be discussed here in Minot.” That’s what Tim Baumann wants to do, start the discussion about environmental issues, especially the use and disposal of single-use plastic bags.

“What’s the cost to our community in terms of pollution, litter, things found in the river, things found in our streets,” he said, “is there a better way?”

City recycling is in the works, and it will eventually lessen the load at the landfill and might reduce littering.

“Recycling really could help us out at the landfill,” Assistant Director of Public Works, Jason Sorenson, said. “A lot, by diverting potentially, 50 percent of what you throw away is potentially recyclable. So just being able to divert some of that, that’s a big one for us.”

But he also said plastic bags can’t be sorted at recycling facilities, so that won’t really mitigate the bag issue.

According to the Earth Policy Institute, these bags can take hundreds of years to decompose.
And when they do, toxic remnants seep into soil and waterways.

Baumann noticed the amount of bags floating around as he was walking his dog – and he’s not the only one to notice.

“At the landfill, they’re probably one of our main issues that we deal with as far as wind-blown debris,” Sorenson said.

That’s why Baumann hopes the Facebook group, also known as the Environmental Policy Group, can figure something out.

“Minot’s pretty diverse,” said Baumann. “We have a lot of population who has lived elsewhere and we just want some ideas and some talking points.”

Fargo-Moorhead has a Plastic Bag Task Force to educate people on how to properly recycle and encourage them to use reusable bags. Minot’s environmental policy group has similar goals.

“Maybe there’s something out there, a way that we can all move forward and reduce the single use plastic bag consumption,” Baumann added.

He said he’d love to eventually pass ideas to city council, and that if anyone has ideas, they can reach out to the Facebook group or email at environmentminot@gmail.com 

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