Got Your Bags? Florida Keys

Got Your Bags “Got Your Bags?” Florida Keys is a coalition of residents, businesses, organizations, and local government dedicated to the reduction and voluntary elimination of single-use plastic bags.  We plan to focus our initial efforts on Big Pine Key, with the hope that other islands in the Florida Keys may eventually embrace our goals.  It is well documented how damaging this little everyday item is to wildlife.  Not only do we live in a refuge for many protected species, but we all benefit from an economy that relies on the National Marine Sanctuary surrounding our island community.  It is a unique and fragile environment that deserves the little additional effort that it takes to sustain its viability.

Many individuals and organizations are aware of this problem and have started using and promoting reusable shopping bags to reduce the litter created by single use plastic bags.  But the problem seems to persist, largely because of human forgetfulness, laziness, or just being uninformed.  It is a global problem.  This local campaign is adapted from a successful model used in California and Maine to unite the personal efforts of residents and local business people to work together in an effort to overcome these obstacles.

“Got Your Bags – Florida Keys” is a grassroots community-based initiative.  Throwing money at this problem does not solve it.  It takes every individual in a strong, united community to be effective.  Your part is easy.  If you are a retailer, don’t dispense plastic bags; if you are a resident- don’t use them!  Once you make the transition, it will take no extra time from your busy day and the results will be a cleaner and safer environment and a more sustainable lifestyle.  We hope the Big Pine Key Got Your Bag campaign will eventually serve as a model for all of the island communities in the Florida Keys and the entire State of Florida.

Thank you for joining us!

Ken Chopcinski

Chair

“Got Your Bags?” Florida Keys/Big Pine Key Campaign

 

GLEE is proud to be a Fiscal Sponsor of the Got Your Bags – Florida Keys Program.  GLEE Board Member Jackie Grasley (left) with Dolly Garlo and Shirley Gun, Got Your Bags – Florida Keys sealing the partnership in August 2012.
GLEE is proud to be a Fiscal Sponsor of the Got Your Bags – Florida Keys Program.  GLEE Board Member Jackie Grasley (left) with Dolly Garlo and Shirley Gun, Got Your Bags – Florida Keys sealing the partnership in August 2012.

 

Thanks to our founding sponsor Save-A-Turtle, which donated $2,500. Harry Appel, Save-A-Turtle board member (center) with Ken Chopcinski and Deb Curlee, Got Your Bags-Florida Keys. This donation will be used to get the program started with reusable bags and fund operating and outreach expenses. Save-A-Turtle is based out of Marathon and is a strong supporter of the Got Your Bags Florida Keys program.
Thanks to our founding sponsor Save-A-Turtle, which donated $2,500. Harry Appel, Save-A-Turtle board member (center) with Ken Chopcinski and Deb Curlee, Got Your Bags-Florida Keys. This donation will be used to get the program started with reusable bags and fund operating and outreach expenses. Save-A-Turtle is based out of Marathon and is a strong supporter of the Got Your Bags Florida Keys program.

 

A NOT-SO-BEAUTIFUL ODE TO PLASTIC BAGS

Marine debris is man-made waste that either directly or indirectly is disposed of in oceans, rivers or other waterways.  Most trash reaches the sea via rivers, and 80 percent of that originates from landfills or other urban sources. In the Florida Keys where we are surrounded by water, a blowing plastic bag has a high likelihood of reaching the ocean within just days, or sometimes immediately. We’ve all seen plastic bags blowing across the bridges as we cross, haven’t we? This waste often ends up in huge ocean gyres, and along coastlines like those in the Florida Keys, that are home to numerous threatened, protected and endangered species.  Plastic bags are consumed by fish, sharks, sea turtles, birds, and can cause life-threatening entanglements to wildlife. In the Florida Keys, we also have the only coral reef in the continental United States; studies indicate that even our reefs are becoming contaminated by plastic bags and the chemicals released by them.  Read more…

Watch: “Why Plastic Bags are Evil”

 

Who We Are.

 

RETAILERS CAMPAIGN

The Retailers Campaign focuses on businesses in Big Pine Key that are likely to dispense plastic bags in their line of business. Sign the Retailers Pledge to be a participant in the program. There is no cost to participate, but the retailer pledges to take at least one step towards reducing the number of plastic bags dispensed. All Retailers who take the pledge are listed on the GYB  website. Support our efforts by sponsoring $100 or more and be listed as a sponsor with a link to your business website.

COMING SOON: Residents and Visitors Campaign

 

SUPPORT OUR PROGRAM

Volunteer your time. Find out how by dropping us a line at gotyourbags.floridakeys@gmail.com.

 

Facebook Follow us on Facebook.

 

Listen to our public service announcement or or catch it on local Florida Keys US1 Radio 104.1 FM.

 

RELATED ORGANIZATIONS & INFORMATION

 

SPONSORS & ORGANIZATIONS 

Thanks to the following organizations and individuals for their generous contributions and support of this program.

 

RELATED ARTICLES & LINKS

Video:  Plastic swallowed by albatrosses in the Pacific Ocean – Hawaii: Message in the Waves – BBC

Implementing the Campaign in Your Community

Make a Donation

 

Florida Keys Green Living & Energy Education (GLEE)