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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History visitors can do more than buy butterfly souvenirs and natural history items on their next trip to the museum gift shops — they can help save the environment by purchasing a reusable canvas tote to use as an alternative to traditional grocery bags.

Florida Museum Associates Board members Phil and Barbara Emmer donated the bags after learning about the destruction caused by the production and use of normal supermarket bags.

“Plastic and paper grocery bags are causing terrible damage to the environment,” Phil Emmer said. “When Barbara learned about the horrible effects these bags have, she knew she wanted to take some sort of action.”

Each year, Americans use 30 million plastic and 10 million paper grocery bags. According to the National Resources Defense Council, the production of these bags requires 14 million trees and 12 million barrels of oil. Less than 2 percent of the bags are recycled, leaving the rest to sit in landfills, pollute waterways and generate harmful greenhouse gases.

“The Florida Museum has been an important figure in promoting environmental awareness for years,” said Florida Museum Director Doug Jones. “We are excited to encourage the public to learn more about sustainability using these bags, and hope that this will be an easy first step for people to take.”

Cost of the bags is $8, including tax. Proceeds from the sale of the bags will benefit Florida Museum research, collections and public programs.

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Writer: Caroline Glagola
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054,