Plastic bags are the second most common beach litter in Delaware after cigarette butts. In 2017 the University of Delaware master’s seminar called Debating Marine conservation created a program called Businesses for Better Bags. The students partnered with the Fashion and Apparel Studies department and designed a reusable bag for local businesses to sell.
The students designed the bag, sourced a bag made in the USA from recycled plastic bottles, yes, it’s washable. The design is the state of Delaware with a horseshoe crab marking Lewes In conjunction with Earth Day celebrations, the UD students’ initiative was written up in Parade magazine which is inserted into national newspapers. The students’ website https://lewesplasticbagproject.weebly.com received a huge number of hits with a sizeable interest in purchasing the bags.
They presented their Businesses for Better Bags initiative for which they received funding from the Sea Grant program to provide the seed money to launch the purchase of recyclable bags. The goals of the program are to reduce the number of single use plastic bags being used in retail establishments. The program has been designed to be sustainable and continue once initial Sea Grant support has expired. The Historic Lewes Business district is the pilot program for this. In hopes that all of Delaware will eventually adopt this program.
The bags are now available in many of the Historic Lewes retail businesses with the Businesses for Better Bags logo. The students ordered over 1,500 bags and in turn Historic Lewes Business will sell them for $10. The Lewes chamber will sell them online https://www.leweschamber.com or 302-645-8073 for $20 plus shipping.
We hope that you will help support our efforts in reducing the usage of single use plastic bags. With the hopes of a Plastic Free Delaware https://plasticfreedelaware.org
What is so special about the Lewes, DE reusable bags and the Businesses for Better Bags Program?
-The bags are made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, and are washable as well as recyclable all produced and printed in the USA.
-The average family will bring home almost 1500 single use plastic bags each year. These bags are used for on average 12 minutes, but have a life expectancy of 1000 years.
-Plastic bag productions is environmentally damaging requiring substantial amounts of water and petroleum. Paper bags are not the answer either since they fossil fuels, water and higher transportation cost.
-Plastic bags are the 2nd most common for of Delaware Beach trash. Due to their lightweight and durable design many blow out of landfills into natural environments, causing the deaths of 100,000 marine animals annually. It also blows into bodies of water and gets caught in boat motors and into farmers fields getting tangled into the farm equipment.
-This was a project of the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment for their Marine Conservation Course.
– Historic Downtown Lewes is the First Town in the First State to implement the pilot program to encourage Lewes businesses and patrons to reduce their dependency on single use bags. There are 16 Downtown Historic Businesses on board with the project to date.
Visit Biblion, Blooming Boutique Accessories, Deanna’s, Inn at Canal Street, Just Lewes, Kids’ Ketch, Lewes Gifts, Lewes Gourmet, Lewes Wear, Piccolino, PUPS, Puzzles, Sand N Stones, Shorebreak, Treasures, and Vintage Underground to buy your bag for $10 and support the local stores who put the environment first!
-This is a sustainable program supported by Delaware Sea Grant and the Green Team Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church, Lewes, Delaware, Lewes Chamber of Commerce and designed by fashion students at University of Delaware.
To learn more about this project https://lewesplasticbagproject.weebly.com/
This is a video that was produced by WRDE talking about this very subject. https://youtu.be/QPbRmSjYk4Q