Letters to the Editor: It’s not just grass. Our obsession with ice wastes water too

A bartender makes an iced coffee drink at the Hotel Figueroa in Los Angeles in 2019.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I couldn’t agree more that all “nonfunctional turf” that gets no actual use needs to be a thing of the past in Southern California. But whenever the discussion is one of water waste, I think ice needs to be part of it as well.

I’m talking about the huge cups of ice handed out at convenience stores, movie theaters, restaurants and coffee bars. How many times do you finish your drink and toss the cup, still full of ice, in the trash?

Everyone takes ice for granted in this country, but in water-strapped California, maybe we should rethink it. How much water is wasted each day in those 32-ounce fountain drinks or “venti” Starbucks cups once the beverage has been finished?


I wonder whether anyone could ever calculate how much melted ice ends up in landfills, still trapped inside a cup.

Marie Estes, Fullerton


To the editor: As a backyard wildlife habitat steward (certified by the National Wildlife Federation), I have been encouraging people to replace their decorative lawns with drought-tolerant California natives for the last 20-plus years. Happily, many have done so.

The tradition of having a large swath of lawn around one’s home came to this country from soggy old England, where it was a status symbol. The bigger one’s lawn, the richer one was.

It’s time we all recognize that California is not soggy old England.

Lawns are not just water gulpers. Tons of pesticides and weed killers are sprayed on them, and much of that finds its way into our ocean, where it does damage.

Furthermore, lawns have almost zero benefit for wildlife. Replacing my lawn decades ago has brought more than 50 species of birds, five species of butterflies and a variety of small mammals visiting my garden.


So thank you for your “goodbye to grass” editorial.

Alan Pollack, Woodland Hills