A local community artist seeks to have single-use plastic bags banned in the city of Keene.

Artist and activist Danielle Baudrand said, “Going to city council wasn’t something that I planned. It was because I am so passionate about the issue and I was doing these big drives and I was getting so much trash and when you live with so much trash and plastic bags you’re just like this stuff is accumulating. If you look at the letter I wrote them it wasn’t something I sat on trying to type up, I just had enough of it. I just had to act.”

Baudrand said, “I wrote in my letter, that the ban should be put in place to stop the flow of pollution. Will it get rid of plastic pollution? No. We have plastic packaging, plastic food packaging, but it’s a start. It’s a start in a way to start forcing people to become more conscious. I think when you start doing that, then people have to start thinking about their trail they’re leaving behind and that’s actually a big part of what my plastic bag project is about.”

Braudrand said, “When I moved to Keene which was about seven months ago I noticed that everybody’s into nature [here]. I actually started pushing it as soon as I moved here like going into different schools trying to get people involved in this project.”

Photo Illustration / Colton McKracken / Equinox Staff

Photo Illustration / Colton McKracken / Equinox Staff

Braudrand said she braids and crochets plastics bags into an art piece called the Plastic Bag Project. It can be seen at www.facebook.com/theplasticbagproject.

“I actually started this project back in 2013 in New York City and it was really to bring about the idea of how much waste we are collecting in the city,” Braudrand said.

Baudrand continued, “I started back in New York City as a way to get kids involved and have them understand the concept of waste and accumulating waste and it was really through that project that I was hoping to increase the awareness of plastic bag pollution and try to decrease the consumption of it and the best place to start is with kids.”

Baudrand has a similar idea in mind as that of Keene State College’s Eco-Reps, who seek to ban plastic water bottles from campus according to an article in a previous issue of The Equinox.

Director of Campus Sustainability Cary Gaunt said, “As a whole the eco-reps and the sustainability office personally think that plastic waste is really bad in general. In the long term I would like to see us get rid of plastic, the plastic our food comes in, the disposable plastic. I’d love to see us be a campus that’s free of all disposable plastics.”

“One of the reasons that disposable plastics are so bad is because it’s a fossil fuel product, plastics are made from oil. We’ve committed as a campus to be carbon neutral. We signed something called the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. That commits Keene State to become carbon neutral sometime in the middle of the century. We don’t have a hard deadline. I want to create a set date. That’s something that will hopefully happen in the next six months,” Gaunt said.

Gaunt continued, “I think it would be great for the city of Keene to ban plastic bags, other cities have done it. I think we should do it on campus as well. I think it’s a fantastic idea. Plastics I think are one of our biggest forms of pollution from the moment it’s made, from the moment we extract oil from the ground to create plastics to the moment we dispose of them. If you look at that whole life cycle of how it’s made, how it’s used, and how it’s disposed, it’s one of our most polluting products.”

Further, Baudrand said, “Plastic pollution isn’t just a thing in Keene, it’s everywhere. It’s something we all have to come together and continually fight. Whether or not they approve it right now, we’ll eventually have to approve something. It’s only time. They can be ahead of the trend and think to the future and think of more sustainable ways that this community can deal with trash and waste consumption or they can ignore it and later on be forced to do it.”

Baudrand said, “I think it would be great to get Keene State involved and working on it together and bring it to places like Concord. I do think it can make a giant impact.”

Criminal justice major and first-year Anna Evans said in Portland, Maine, where she’s from, people have to pay five cents even if they only need one plastic bag. “I think overall especially here at school and at other schools banning plastics bags would be really good just because it’s not really a necessary thing for us to have. It’s worked…where I live, it can work anywhere,” Evans said.

Ward five Councilor Philip M. Jones was unavailable for comment before deadline.

Adam Urquhart can be contacted at aurquhart@kscequinox.com

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