August: BYOBag Month
August 2016 named BYOBag Month for McHenry County.
A unanimous vote at a July McHenry County Board meeting proclaimed August 2016 as a countywide Bring Your Own Bag (BYOBag) month.
The BYOBag program of The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County encourages residents to use reusable bags when shopping and supports businesses as they help promote the use of alternatives to plastic and paper at checkout.
Founded in October of 2013, the BYOBag Committee has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the detrimental effects that plastic bags have on our environment and the high cost of cleanup when bags make their way from landfills, are airborne or end up in our rivers and other features of the watersheds in McHenry County.
Towns that have proclaimed BYOBag months include Algonquin, Cary, Crystal Lake, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Spring Grove and Woodstock.
A Better Way
Plastic bags cost businesses an enormous of amount of money, as do paper bags, and both have consequences on the environment during processing as well as transport. Plastic bags, once in our environment, can remain for hundreds of years due to the indestructible nature of plastic polymers.
Plastic bags are not necessary and can be easily replaced by bags that can be used for shopping for dozens of years. One reusable bag can replace the use of tens of hundreds of plastic bags.
The Environmental Defenders has received two grants from the McHenry County Community Foundation to help inform the public of the vital need to reduce the use of plastic bags, made from oil, a non-renewable resource. The BYOBag signs can already be seen throughout McHenry County and on bag racks given to stores to help them promote their own reusable bags.
How to Help
The BYOBag Committee asks the public to observe BYOBag beginning August 2016 and maintain a new habit of bringing one’s own bags throughout the years to come. Learn how to make a reusable, no-sew T-shirt tote here.
Future endeavors of the BYOBag Committee include developing an ordinance promoting a charge for plastic and paper bags, examples of which already exist in our communities. It is hoped through teamwork and a mindful eye on a sustainable McHenry County that each town will eventually adopt such an ordinance.