Abby Goldberg: A 12-year-old girl stands up to the plastic industry.

English: Birds nesting in a tree covered in pl...

Birds in tree covered in plastic bag litter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a David vs. Goliath story and one that should inspire us all to become fearless leaders in society, willing to stand up for what is right and take proper action. That’s how we’ll create sustainable communities.

A 12-year-old girl named Abby Goldberg learned about the devastation and pollution caused by the 100 billion plastic bags we throw away every year. Abbey rallied others in her school and called for a ban on plastic bag usage by stores. The plastic bag industry isn’t happy about that and are lobbying to stop Abby’s efforts. Abby started a petition against these tactics on Read it, sign it and pass it on. Here’s Abby’s story in her own words:

I never expected that a school project would make me an enemy of giant plastics companies. After all, I’m only 12.

But when my friends and I learned that Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year, causing huge amounts of litter and pollution, we knew we had to do something. Cities like Austin and Los Angeles have made a huge dent by banning plastic bags, so we started a school project to ban plastic bags in our town, Grayslake, Illinois.

Things were going really well… until the plastic industry started lobbying for a bill that would prevent people like me in every town in Illinois (except Chicago) from taking actions to reduce plastic bag litter. Seriously?? These corporations have no business telling towns like mine that we can’t make decisions for ourselves.

The bill — SB 3442 — has already passed the Illinois House and Senate. Our last chance to stop it from becoming law is to convince Governor Pat Quinn to veto it.

That’s why I started a petition on asking Governor Quinn to veto SB 3442, the bill that would prevent towns from passing plastic bag bans. Click here to add your name.

One thing that makes me especially angry is that the American Progressive Bag Alliance, which represents the companies that manufacture plastic bags, has said that SB 3442 could be “a model bill” for all states. That means that they could push their corporate interests all over America, preventing kids like me and towns like mine from taking action to stop pollution.

Well, the corporations may be afraid of me, but I’m not afraid of them. I know that if thousands of people sign my petition, Governor Quinn will see that the public doesn’t want these big corporations telling our towns what we can and cannot do. And when we win, that veto will be a signal to Big Plastic that they had better not expect to take their bill to other states without a fight.

Click here to sign my petition asking Governor Quinn to veto the bill that would prevent towns like mine from banning plastic bags.

Thanks for helping me with my project — and helping all towns fight pollution.

Abbey rallied others to her cause and they began a drive to ban plastic bag usage in her hometown. The plastic bag industry has begun to fight back. Rea

About GU Writer

Words matter.


  1. Amanda, thank you for your comment! If only we were at the stage of weighing each others opinions and come up with a collective value. Sadly, we’re not. We’re losing fauna, clean water and sea inhabitants and so much more. It’s gone far beyond waiting to be inspired in the sense that you mean here. The 100 billion plastic bags, coupled with a host of other billions of plastic products — like water bottles — that get tossed every year take centuries to degrade. While they’re degrading, they’re polluting our water, our soil and our air. That’s not opinion; that’s fact. I am grateful to this 12-year-old girl and her classmates who have inspired store owners to stop using the bags by educating them with facts. Sadly, it’s corporate greed that is the problem here and not one person’s opinion over another.

    • Amy Bell

      I agree with Ground Hog!!! There are so many people, like Amanda that are Lazy and oblivious to the devestation that we as humans are creating on this world we are leaving to our children! Its people like her that “dont care about throwing away plastic” that dont DESERVE this world we live in! Im ashamed to be a US citizen because we are so far behind the times and we are the worse polluters in the world! And its because of people like Amanda that dont give a damm!!! As far as God is concerned… maybe we are all pawns to him and he is only watching to see what we will do. Destroy this world or Kick people like the big plastic companies in the butt!!!! Its people like Amanda that are sooooo uneducated about the subject that they shouldnt even have a say!!!

  2. Amanda

    Abby, I don’t understand why you think you can force your opinion on others and then get mad at others when they do the same to you. Isn’t that a bit hypocritical? And aren’t you a bit “controlling”? Why not just leave everyone alone and “INSPIRE” them to reduce plastic garbage. The minute you want to “ban” it seems to mean that you think your opinion is more important than theirs. Frankly, my dear, first, I don’t believe you wrote this yourself. And second I think you are “brainwashed” and third I don’t give a damn about throwing away plastic. God knows how to clean his aquarium. He has done it for thousands of years. You are being used as a pawn.

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