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Mount Abe students work on plastic bag ban

BRISTOL — A Keep Bristol Beautiful forum organized by Mount Abraham Union High School’s Environmental Action Group this past Wednesday evening was fueled by youth energy.
During the event at the Bristol Firehouse, four members of the group — Cora Funke, Chessley Jackman, Rosemary Thurber and Abby Johnson — presented their case for a ban on certain plastics in Bristol.
Their aim is not only to effect a transition toward reusable shopping bags, environmentally friendly carryout options and fewer (and more biodegradable) straws, but also to foster wider conversations about how we think about waste, in general.
They estimated that their proposal would reduce trash and toxins in Bristol by more than 2 million bags per year, eliminating 55 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and saving retailers more than $82,000.
One thing they were adamant about:
“We do not intend to create harsh penalties or consequences.”
This isn’t about punishment, Funke said. Their mission is about positive reinforcement.
Signatures from at least 5 percent of Bristol’s registered voters are required before the resolution can be put up for a townwide vote.
A similar resolution passed in Middlebury on Town Meeting Day, and the Vermont Legislature is considering bills that would impose statewide bans on certain plastic products.
Even if Vermont becomes the third state to impose some sort of ban on plastic bags, the Environmental Action Group plans to stick with the Keep Bristol Beautiful initiative “to make sure the ban’s specifications best fit our community’s needs while having the maximum positive impact,” they said.
In addition to Ethan Tanych’s Operation Ocean, a number of local advocacy organizations and green businesses contributed to the forum, which was sponsored by Bristol CORE and Bristol Democrats.
A video of the event, produced by Northeast Addison Television, is available online at neatbristol.com.
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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