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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Recycling won’t save us — using less plastic is our only option

Plastic bottles.
Plastic bottles collected by volunteers from Aberdeen Harbor on the south side of Hong Kong Island.
(Jerome Favre / SPA )

To the editor: Thank you for the editorial on the single-use plastic bottle ban at San Francisco International Airport and the innovative measures designed to reduce inconvenience to travelers.

But therein lies the root cause, as you identified: our desire for convenience that too often overrides all other factors. At least water bottles can be recycled, though too few are.

Consumers need to understand that plastic items such as straws and utensils are rarely recycled because they are too small or fragile for recycling processing equipment, or of little or no value. Recycling bins cannot resolve our consumption excesses.

Even more problematic are delivery food containers. Most paper versions have grease-resistant coatings that studies have linked to health problems. Paper beverage cups are not 100% paper -- they’re lined with polyethylene. When discarded in a landfill, the container’s paper portion, which is an organic material, generates the greenhouse gas methane when it decomposes.

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The the only solution is to abandon our single-use disposable ethic. California’s recently enacted AB 619 allows customers to bring their own food containers, so encourage your favorite eatery to offer a discount when you arrive with bowl or plate in hand.

Jennifer Pinkerton, Glendale

..

To the editor: I lived the first 50 years of my life without the availability of bottled water. There was water at home and at school.

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When I went camping I brought a canteen. When my family went on a picnic we brought a jug with a spout.

Now, a generation that is supposedly more conscious of health and the environment is dropping tons of plastic on the world, apparently because they can’t go an hour without a sip.

If we must pamper the public with plastic, let’s tax the heck out of it to pay for its complete removal from the face of the Earth.

Don Tonty, Los Angeles


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