I take issue with Jeri Anderson’s letter in disagreement of Los Angeles County Mike Antonovich’s position on plastic bags (“We can live better without plastic bags,” Dec. 4).
Everyone agrees that improperly discarded plastic bags make a mess. However, there are solutions and considerations, other than prohibiting the use of these bags, that we must discuss before we can solve this problem.
First, how much harm to the environment do canvas bags cause in their manufacture, transportation and disposal? Is it more than using plastic bags? We have to consider every environmental effect and cost if we are going to change our policies.
Second, it always makes me a bit queasy to see a dirty canvas bag go moving down the counter at the checkout stand. These can present a health hazard that clean plastic or paper bags do not.
So what is the solution? I say that we should have everyone vote on whether to charge a 25- or 50-cent fee to anyone who wants a plastic bag at any store. The store should be paid a small fee (like they do for lottery tickets) for each transaction.
The average resident could also be paid a recycling fee for each bag returned, just like we do for bottles and aluminum cans.
I think that this idea would save jobs and clean up the environment at the same time.
We’ll get used to plastic-bag ban
When California legislated motorists/passengers must wear seat belts, I wasn’t a big fan at first, and it took some getting used to, but it eventually became an automatic habit. The ban on plastic bags, like the seat belt law, may be a little inconvenient at first, but it’s also well worth the effort.
Plastic bags are supposed to be recycled, but many people don’t bother to do that. The bags that are not recycled don’t always make it into our trash barrels either. Those runaway bags become litter, an eyesore for our neighborhoods and an unnecessary cleanup cost for our cities, wasting money that could be directed to other needs.
And the plastic bag litter that remains uncollected becomes a menace to wildlife and our environment.
I keep reusable bags in the car, but don’t always remember to bring them into the store with me; I’m working on that.
Some stores, such as Trader Joe’s and Target, offer incentives to their customers who remember their reusable bags. Trader Joe’s has a raffle drawing each week for customers who bring in reusable bags; and Target offers 5 cents for each reusable bag you provide when you check out.
Karen Keehne Zimmerman