Corpus Christi is located in a windy coastal environment and 91% of single-use plastic bags that are not recycled end up going into the landfill, getting stuck on trees and bushes, or despoiling the bay and Gulf waters. Coastal Bend residents value a clean environment and desire leadership on the issue of plastic trash in our community. Here are some facts about plastic bags in our city:
* 1 HEB (Saratoga) can use 16,000 plastic bags in one day. There are 10 HEB stores in Corpus Christi
* Corpus Christi's Solid Waste Department spends $190,000 each year to pick up loose plastic bags near the transfer station and along the road between the transfer station and the Cefe Valenzuela landfill. These are bags that have been properly disposed by residents but have flown from trucks or out of the transfer station.
* While the single-stream curbside recycling program has succeeded in recycling a variety of plastic items, over 150 tons of bailed plastic bags have stacked up at the recycling facility since no market exists for them.
* It takes the Corpus Christi Municipal Marina staff one week to clean up floating debris after a major storm, for a labor cost of $4,320.00 per event plus materials, fuel, and wear and tear of equipment. When this occurs, staff cannot perform their regular duties. A heavy rainstorm following a drought washed an estimated 14 tons of floating trash into the marina area. Plastic bags also get sucked into boat engine raw water strainers and burn up expensive pumps and equipment on these vessels.
* The Parks & Recreation Department spends roughly $125,000 a year on staff, trucks and equipment to remove trash from the Gulf beaches. It is estimated that plastics comprise about 30% of this trash, so it costs approximately $37,500 per year to remove plastic trash from the Gulf beaches.
* Each year since 2003, the Audubon Society has designated Corpus Christi as the “America’s Birdiest City,” drawing in numerous birders. Unfortunately, most of the best birding sites are littered with discarded plastic bags.
* Tourists are not impressed when they see plastic bags and other trash on area beaches. Many visitors complain to the Convention and Visitors Bureau or write letters to the editor of the Caller Times about how a trashy appearance detracted from their vacation experience.