I wrote about our local plastic bag ban a few weeks ago. Well, the other night during the dinner our 5-year-old told us that some man came over to talk to the kids about the ban at her elementary school assembly. The need to inform elementary school children about the ban is not immediately obvious to this parent.
The speaker told students that when people don’t properly dispose of plastic bags birds and animals may get caught in them or eat them and die. I’m sure he had a lot of other drivel to share, but that’s what our 5-year-old picked up on, naturally. Me and DH looked at each other. We talked about littering, and how all littering is bad, not just plastic bags. Fortunately, however, people in our town are responsible and can be trusted to put their garbage into garbage cans, even without the new law.
We also said that paper bags are not very good because the break often, and that people use plastic bags again and again, in their garbage cans and to pick up dogs’ poop. We told her that it was wrong to invite the guy who talks about why he supports the ban, but not invite anyone with a different point of view, because there are many sides to this story. DH said that we’d like to hear about what is going on at the assemblies, and that there will be lot of things she’ll hear in school, and that the most important are math, reading and writing. Everything else is just someone’s opinion.
I don’t think there was an age-appropriate way to explain that plastic bags production requires fewer resources and is, therefore, cleaner. So we didn’t go there. But the most important point was yet to be made. The reason we oppose the ban, we said, is because if some people think that paper is better, they can ask for paper, and if some people think that plastic is better, they can ask for plastic. Or if a store decides that they don’t want to give out plastic, they can stick with paper. This way everybody can do what they think is appropriate. My daughter looked at me for a second or two and gave me the most beautiful mischievous smile.