Rotary Club of St. John has begun a campaign to encourage stores and consumers to change the way people shop. There's an online petition for people to promise to "to remember to bring a reusable shopping bag" and for businesses to "encourage our customers to remember to 'Bring a Bag.'"
The need for the campaign, says Rotary, is made clear by "estimates that stores on St. John collectively distribute approximately 500,000 bags annually into the waste stream and environment of the islands."
A spokesman for Rotary said a recent news article localizes the problem, reporting that the death of a whale was blamed on plastic bags in the ocean.
Rotary hopes the campaign will gain enough momentum to persuade the Virgin Islands Legislature to enact territory-wide legislation to ban the use of disposable plastic bags.
One of the first signers of the online petition was Bonny Corbell, a local, who said, "I commit to this today! I will hand carry any groceries to my truck IF I forget my bags! Poor habits must be broken…and I will start with me….today."
Another resident, Margaret Majette wants to go further. She said, "Get rid of all plastic bags as well as Styrofoam takeout containers/cups."
Deborah Ramsay proudly signed, adding "I have been using reusable bags for about 40 years!!"