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News: Make a New Year’s Resolution to Reduce Use of Plastics


January 02, 2019

GCA Clubs Educate and Advocate

Due to its lightweight, chemical resistance, and low cost, plastic has found its way into everything from makeup to medical equipment to the aerospace industry, supposedly improving life. Or has it? A two-fold increase in plastic consumption since 1959, a throw-away mentality, easy dispersal, and the 500+ year rate of plastic degradation have created a garbage crisis. Garden Club of America (GCA) members are educating themselves about plastics, initiating projects to reduce the use of plastics, and pledging to change their behavior.

The increased use of plastics, especially single use plastics used only briefly and discarded, has resulted in pollution of landscapes and waterways around the world. Not only is plastic slow to degrade, but it can leach toxins into the environment affecting both wildlife and humans. The GCA’s position papers on Oceans and Waste Management both outline concerns about plastics.   Local clubs are following up with initiatives to educate, recycle and reduce plastic use.

Carrie T. Watson Garden Club showcased the problem in a public exhibit on plastics in Erie, PA and hosted a presentation by 4Ocean, an organization that is recycling ocean plastic debris into bracelets. Over half the members signed a "plastics pledge" to eliminate certain single use plastics. Garden Club of Dayton started a “Sustainability Boutique” at meetings featuring Stashers, metal and paper straws, "shower cap" covers for bowls, and reusable produce bags. Huntingdon Valley Garden Club has been collecting single use plastics to donate to a recycling company to make a bench. Garden Club of Philadelphia is changing the green polypropylene floral design dishes used for their 100+ Christmas Greens outreach arrangements to a more eco-friendly container made from recycled paper.

Several clubs, including Garden Club of Alexandria, have encouraged local stores and restaurants voluntarily to use paper straws and provide straws only upon request. French Broad River Garden Club Foundation collaborated with other local organizations to show the documentary "Straws." Many Georgetown Garden Club members wrote in support of a bill to ban plastic straws and stirrers in the District of Columbia and one member testified. The ban will go into effect on January 1, 2019.


In Other News...

Bee-utiful Gardens: The Possibilities with Pollinators
From the GCA Collection at the Archives of American Gardens
December 20, 2018

George Washington Crossed the Delaware on December 25, 1776
The Garden Club of Trenton Plants a Memorial
December 20, 2018


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