Award winning plastic bag documentary coming to NCRD

At 7 p.m. on Jan. 28, CARTM will host a screening of “Bag It,” a documentary movie that follows one man’s journey as he tries to make sense of our plastic-coated lives. The film will be shown in the North County Recreation District theater on Ninth Street in Nehalem, and its star, Jeb Berrier, will be on hand to answer questions afterward. Admission is free.

“Bag It,” which has won more than a dozen film-festival awards, features Berrier’s quest to find out what happens to the tons of single-use, plastic carry-out bags discarded into the environment every day. He then delves into the addiction to disposable plastics.

As plastic breaks down, it releases toxic chemicals, including endocrine disruptors, which are linked to cancer, diabetes, attention deficit disorder and infertility. When fish, birds and mammals swallow the tiny pieces, Portland’s Office of Planning and Sustainability explains, these poisons enter the human food chain.

Plastic bags alone kill more than 100,000 sea birds and animals each year, strangling turtles and choking whales.

CARTM does not accept single-use bags for recycling because they are unmarketable and because there are better options, said Executive Director Karen Reddick Yurka.

“CARTM stopped accepting plastic bags for recycling in 2013,” she said. “It cost more to ship them to market than we received for them, they took a tremendous amount of time to process, and the mess they created required the baler to be shut down for cleaning afterwards. We encourage our community to choose durable, reusable bags instead of disposable ones.”

Grocery stores only started using plastic bags in the 1980s. They’re cheaper than paper, but not by much. And, unlike paper, plastic never biodegrades; it remains a hazard forever. Oregonians alone consume more than 1 billion plastic carry-out bags each year, using them for less than 12 minutes, then tossing them in the trash.

The bag problem, at least, has a simple solution: stop using plastic bags.

“Living where we do, it just makes sense to use carry-out bags that don’t end up getting blown into the ocean and becoming litter on our beaches,” said local resident Michael Maginnis. “I don’t mind bringing a reusable bag to the store.”

Join other concerned citizens at this special screening of “Bag It,” where a petition to ban single-use, plastic carry-out bags in Manzanita will be available to sign.