Could My Chilean Childhood Combat Plastic Waste?

In the 1980s, We Recycled Our Bottles in Big Red Crates. Returning to Returnables Can Curb Pollution Today

When I was growing up in the ’80s in Santiago, Chile, during the Pinochet dictatorship, air quality was the environmental problem most present in our lives. It determined whether we could drive that day, how overwhelmed hospitals would be, and whether or not we would have physical education at school.

Global warming was unheard of. And plastic was our friend: a cheap, versatile, and durable material that let us play, move about, and simplify our lives. We never anticipated its long-lastingness would become a problem.

During those politically tumultuous years in the …

The Carpinteriazation of Banned Bags

California Is Voting on Whether to Catch up With a Beach City Transformed by a Ban on Single-Use Bags

Next month, California might almost catch up with Carpinteria.

The small beach town in Santa Barbara County, population 13,500, is rarely cited as a leader in anything. But when it comes …