Bag Blog

Statewide 'A Bag's Life' campaign to recycle plastic bags and wraps launches Monday

Practice your three Rs and help celebrate America Recycles Day

By Kathy Van Mullekom (Daily Press) — As clean city coordinator for Hampton, Debbie Blanton encourages everyone to follow the three Rs: reduce …recycle … reuse.

Think of the 3Rs as a triple way to be green, she advocates.

"If you reduce what you buy, you save money and the environment," she says. "If you reuse materials or buy used materials, you save money and the environment. "And, if you recycle, you save money and the environment."

While Blanton talks the talk, she also walks the walk — she faithfully follows the 3Rs in her personal and professional life. She recycles paper, glass and metal, and repurposes things like old towels into bath mats and leaves into organic compost. Currently, she's experimenting with new green cleaning products.

"We're the use-it-til-it's-dead types, so we use appliances and electronics for as long as they're usable," she says.

"Our cars are 7 and 16 years old, and we buy clothing that lasts. I've wanted a worm composter for home use, but we have squeamish people in the house, so I plan to set up one at work."

On Monday, the 13th annual America Recycles Day, the entire country focuses on ways to recycle a little so you save a lot. For instance, recycle one glass bottle and you conserve enough energy to illuminate a light bulb for four hours, according to Keep America Beautiful, Inc., which organizes the nationwide event.

In Virginia, the observance launches "A Bag's Life" campaign to increase the recycling of plastic bags and wraps statewide. Visit to find a mobile app that helps you find the closest plastic bag drop-off location, with nearly 800 sites in Virginia and more coming.

Encouraging kids to adopt the 3Rs as a lifestyle is a key goal of the campaign, and it's working at Barron Elementary School in Hampton, where kids know to save and reuse plastic bags, to put trash in receptacles and not on the ground, and to use metal water bottles instead of plastic versions.

"I love to recycle because we can save the world from being trashed," says third-grader Lyric DaCosta.

"When you recycle, you save some things that cannot be replaced," says fourth-grader Mehgan Mangrum.