Thursday, July 9, 2009

Why leaves belong on trees not plastic bags

Photo by s2art
Photo by Michael Brooks
I met with Jonathan Graves, UNCW ITSD, yesterday to discuss sending video footage from the North Atlantic Gyre. I commented on his computer wallpaper - a beautiful close-up of Maple leaves with their intricate veins,rich sunlit color, and cookie cutter edges. I could see their life line stipule connected to the mother plant. Jonathan replied saying he's fascinated with leaves, "It's amazing to me oxygen comes from them."

It hit me why seeing a plastic bag in a tree has always weirded me out. Unlike leaves that turn CO2 into O2 and when done they biodegrade fertilizing the soil, plastics do none of the above. After their one time use, plastic bags just break down for 400 plus years leaving nothing but toxic chemicals behind.

If bags are in trees, chances are they can end up in the ocean. Sea animals confuse them for food. Imagine a belly full of plastic bag. Worse than my cooking, they cause a whole lot more discomfort and a slow painful death.

When your driving around this week, look to see if you find any plastic bags in trees. Once you see one, you'll start to notice they are everywhere.


  1. We've been bugged by the problem of bags in trees for many years and finally decided to try to do something about it. We invented a tool called the "Bag Snagger." It's now being used by parks, including New York's Central Park, and many volunteer groups and companies across the country. You can find us at
    Bill McClelland

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