Paper or plastic? Task force pushes for reusable bags instead - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Paper or plastic? Task force pushes for reusable bags instead in South Sioux City

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Plastic bag found on farmland in South Sioux City. Plastic bag found on farmland in South Sioux City.

A task force in South Sioux City wants BYOB to have a new meaning. The Bring Your Own Bag campaign wants people to cut down on using plastic bags, not just to save the environment, but also to save taxpayer's money.

Sally Reinert who co-chairs the task force says, litter isn't just a big problem in South Sioux City, it's a Siouxland problem and beyond.

Reinert moved to South Sioux City Nebraska, nearly four decades Ago. She said it was a simpler time and a tidier place.

"When I first came to this community this road didn't exist and it was built to be a major thoroughfare around the edge of the community," Reinert said.

And as that thoroughfare, Highway 77 brought in more business, she said litter build-up became a growing pain throughout South Sioux City.

"I've seen plastic bags 30 feet in the air, they just continue traveling until they become lodged somewhere, in this fence, in a tree, even over by the river a couple miles away," Reinert said.

Reinert said, if the problem gets worse, it could push away new businesses. That's why the Bring Your Own Bag task force was created; to encourage people to use reusable grocery bags, and to help clean up.

"Our goal was to change the minds and hearts and to get them to people to quit taking the bags out of the stores that they have no use for," Reinert said.

And Reinert said, even if the litter doesn't make its way into people's backyards, it could still cost you.

"We're spending a lot more on sending out more city workers that have to go out and pick up all this," Gene Maffit, South Sioux City Parks Director said.

How much more money is hard to calculate, according to Gene Maffit, but said he's hired at least one worker to focus on litter clean up.

"This is not simple it's going to take everyone getting on board and doing their little piece," Reinert said.

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