Efforts to reduce, reuse plastic bags continue to make their way into region

ROANOKE, Va. – Plastic bags are used every day and end up in places they shouldn't, such as waterways and parks.

In an effort to help protect environment, the city of Roanoke and other organizations are finding ways to keep our community clean.

Councilman John Garland said the City Council has been trying for years to get permission to deal with this problem. 

"So far, the state has not allowed us to decide one way or another whether we can prohibit the use of plastic bags or not. So, we ask that every year and it will be asked again this year," said Garland.

He said that, until the city gets the green light, he wants community members to help find a solution by making their concerns known to retailers and by making environmentally conscious choices. 

That is where the Trex Co. recycling challenge comes in.

"What we are doing is running a program that collects just plastic bags. They get baled together and get sent to a company called Trex. And if you get up to 500 pounds, they give you a bench back that you can use at school or a memorial that you like,” said Mary Ann Brenchick, the executive director of Clean Valley Council.

“That is one of the programs we are rolling out Sept.1,” she said.

Family Service of Roanoke Valley has already raised 500 pounds of plastic bags and plans to replace its benches with new ones for its therapy sessions.

Brenchick told 10 News that, in the past,Clean Valley Council has pushed to ban the bags, but understands it's not that simple.

 “I am really pro-choice and we are saying make the right decisions before that happens, because it would impact stores and it would cost them more money to buy bags that aren't plastic, because it's cheap,” said Brenchick.