Preserving the Environment

How a Non-Profit Solved One of New York City’s Peskiest Pollution Problems

January 15, 2014
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How a Non-Profit Solved One of New York City’s Peskiest Pollution Problems
The Bag Snaggers The Awl
Screen grab via Youtube
A small team of dedicated workers gets rid of unsightly plastic bags caught in trees.

You might think a modern city like New York would have figured out some high-tech method for removing plastic bags from its trees. But this video from The Awl shows us that sometimes, the simplest solution to a problem is the most effective.

The so-called Bag Snaggers, a small band of workers from actress Bette Midler’s non-profit, New York Restoration Project, removes an estimated 1,500 plastic bags annually from Big Apple trees with nothing more than a hook on a really long pole that can extend up to 40 feet. (The Bag Snagger tool is actually patented for its bag-removal capabilities.)

As seen in the short film, untangling bags or other debris from branches isn’t as easy as it looks. Workers take 10 minutes or more per bag, using equal parts elbow grease and tactful handling as to not damage the trees. One bag snagger sounded off about the tedious process to The Awl, “I have trouble bag snagging, trying to get the pole to reach the bags and trying to get the bags to like gently come off the branches…We try not to break the branches off the trees.” Keeping New York a bag-free landscape isn’t an easy task, but someone’s got to do it.

MORE: What Would a City with No Plastic Bags Look Like?

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