Getting a handle on plastic bags

When Dr. Randy Wallstrum asks which direction the prevailing winds blow, you know he’s going somewhere.

Wallstrum lives downwind from the Gardnerville Walmart, which sends a plume of plastic bags into the fields in the southwest wind, according to the typically genial veterinarian.

There aren’t that many residents living northeast of the big box store. But there are going to be a lot more in the foreseeable future, roughly 2,000 or more, when the Virginia Project starts building.

Look, we’re not about to get into a debate about the use of plastic bags in our grocery stores. If you want to discourage their use, bring a bag. If enough people do that, more bags will stay in their original boxes and fewer will end up in the weeds.

Earth Day is only 10 days out, so it’s not a bad plan to look at what each of us is producing in the way of single-use plastics.

It appears from several reports that most of the plastic we try to recycle isn’t actually getting reused in a viable way. We know that at some point people will figure that out, because there really isn’t much of a choice. In the meantime, the goal should be to keep all that plastic in one place, so when the technology is available, it’s easier for us to find.

There’s a long history in Carson Valley of people having to make do with the things that were available to them. It was 55 years before the V&T Railway was extended to Minden. Before that, most commerce through Carson Valley was delivered courtesy of a quadruped.

While the pioneers were self-reliant, they were also relatively cash poor, so store-bought goods were a luxury.

Repurposing containers of one sort or another was routine in Valley ranchers’ kitchens, just as it was routine to hang onto something that might find a new use to repair a valuable piece of machinery.

We recycle because waste is wrong, and because no one wants to look out over Carson Valley’s rapidly greening fields to see a bunch of plastic bags flapping in that prevailing southwest wind.


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