Living sustainably is a daunting task but doable if we work together to reduce our impact on the environment. Over the past three months, a group of Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) leaders have been discussing a viable step towards living more sustainable lives: to reduce single-use plastic bags in our community. Our initial research illuminates four areas for action:

Change the Law

Regulate use by changing the law (city or state) – the current law, LB 632, prohibits the regulation of containers, including single-use plastic bags.

Work with Stores

Work with local grocery stores and larger “big-box stores,” like Walmart and Target, to assist them in reducing the use of single-use plastic bags.

Commit Individuals to Change

Educate OTOC leaders and encourage them to pledge to take reusable bags to stores when shopping. OTOC institutions could also make commitments to reducing/eliminating bag usage in their programs and services. These commitments and success stories could be shared across institutions through in-person presentations, e-communications, and social media. 

Build an OTOC Action Team

We know that it will take significant power to accomplish our goals. Power that we as individuals do not have on our own. But as a team, we can organize together to understand where progress can be made and what it will take to make progress possible. We are building a team of OTOC leaders who are dedicated to bringing this effort to all of our member institutions and beyond. But we need your help!

What we're inviting you to do is to be a part of the team that will bring this issue to our congregations and work to find a solution. If you would be willing to be part of a conversation in your institution on this topic, please contact Bernice Yates at [email protected] to introduce yourself and your interest. Our next team meeting is Oct. 17 from 3-4 pm at Augustana Lutheran Church, 3647 Lafayette Avenue. Together, we can live sustainably, one recycled bag at a time. 


By Rhonda Stuberg, Bernice Yates, Katrina Schmidt, and Sarah Keeney