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March 28th Luncheon Highlights

The Democrats’ March 28th Luncheon highlighted the concerns many in the community have about recycling. Many attending saw this as a bi-partisan issue that should start with everyone vowing to cut their individual use of plastics and waste, investigate recycling technology, a lobby for changes on local, state and federal levels.

About 28 people attended the Luncheon, and all shared their concerns about plastic in our oceans, plastic in our landfills, and plastic littering the countryside. Most of those present said they already take their own shopping bags to stores and are in favor of a statewide ban on plastic bags. Each person attending said they will call five friends and ask each to call stores in the area and let them know we’re in favor of getting rid of the filmy plastic bags that often end up hanging from trees and floating in our waterways as not only an eyesore but an endangerment to wildlife.

The group also vowed to lobby representatives about recycling, and investigate what is being done to deal with the trash we are no longer sending to China for repurposing. Vice Chair Dorothy Yetter said Democrats will be adding recycling information and updates on our website.

John Rickert said he is looking into machines in the UK and the US that convert plastics into fuel or chemicals needed by industry. There are still concerns about pollution that might be generated by the conversion process, and John said at this point he doesn’t have all the answers, but if it turns out we can make something useful out of trash without much consequence, this may be a project worth pursuing and eventually funding. John’s research on plastics use in Southern Oregon shows it would be feasible to operate a plastics recycling plant here.

In 2014 California became the first state to ban plastic bags. New York is considering a ban, and many cities across the US and in Hawaii have banned the bags or put charges on them. In Oregon, nearly 40 percent of the state’s population already lives in areas where plastic bags are banned, according the Statesman Journal. Some are also going further, banning plastic straws and other single-use items that harm wildlife

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