“In Oregon there is a strong interest in environmental protection, we can promote this idea beyond Oregon and lead others in a fight against plastic pollution.”
Beverly Stein is all about recycling. In fact, she is a certified master recycler in Tillamook county. She is working on banning harmful plastic bags and won’t stop until Tillamook is the first county in Oregon to pass a county-wide ban on plastic bags. This requires each of the seven cities of Tillamook county to pass their own ordinances to ban single-use, plastic bags. As part of this project, Beverly and her team have been conducting surveys on businesses and individuals in each of those seven cities about how they feel about banning plastic bags and how a ban might affect their livelihoods and their everyday routines. “We have received an amazing response from businesses,” Beverly said, “and well beyond the majority support the ban.” The data from the surveys is then taken to city council to show the wide support for the ban and to push its passing. Out of the 451 survey responses, 90% said that they considered plastic bags to be a threat to the environment and 87% wanted plastic bags to be banned. “To me, the plastic bag is an entry point for people to start thinking about how we use the natural resources of our planet. Not that it will solve the plastic problem altogether, but it is a step in right direction, a way for people to start thinking about where plastic goes when it is thrown away.”
When asked why this issue is so important to her, Beverly replied, “Because I live on the ocean and see it everyday, I also see plastics on the beach. I have also become so upset with reading about plastic in the ocean and the impact it is having, about the enormous amounts of plastic debris in the middle of the ocean. This is my contribution to climate change and protecting our ecosystem.” About the plastic bag ban, Beverly said “At a time when people are really frustrated with protection of the environment at a national level, this is something people can do at local level to take action and make a difference.”
“In Oregon there is a strong interest in environmental protection, we can promote this idea beyond Oregon and lead others in a fight against plastic pollution.” Beverly Stein recognizes what a special place Oregon is to take on the fight against plastic pollution in the Pacific Ocean. “I think those of us who live in Oregon are very oriented towards the ocean, and the health of the Pacific Ocean is probably more present for us than for other states.” Beverly says that she is disturbed when she sees in the impact of plastics on the ocean and its wildlife, but as an avid recycler, she knows just how difficult it is to recycle plastic. This is why we can not simply ban plastic bags, says Beverly, but we have to move towards using reusable bags and other reusable products in order to cut down on our plastic waste.