Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 11/16: On Proposed Bag Ban

Long-use bags

As a consumer, I’m aware of the latest discussions about banning plastic and/or paper bags and asking large chain stores to offer reusable bags.

As a local business owner committed to providing not only reusable but also sustainable shopping and produce bags for more than 19 years, there were a couple of comments I wish to make.

The most troubling thing is reading that some “reusable alternative bags” have “a lifespan upward of two years in some forms ...” But what happens to a bag that only lasts two years? Answer: It will also take up space in the landfill!

The plastics industry is pushing “reusable” plastic bags that are harmful for our environment to manufacture: from the start (plastics are petroleum-based and a nonrenewable resource) through the process to re-manufacture old plastic into new (polluting) and to the end, when they go to landfills. Cheaper is not always better!

I often get calls from customers who have used their cotton reusable shopping bag for 20 years or more!

We should ALL be using “reusable” bags that are truly environmentally sound: 1) made from sustainable/renewable materials; 2) made in places that utilize fair labor practices; 3) recyclable (like cotton); and 4) made without harmful chemicals.

Bottom line: The bags should have decades of use!

Marcelle Bakula


A better part

I support the efforts of the IWMA to ban single-use plastic bags in our county. We discussed doing this during the time I was serving on the board. But at that time, the state began debating just such a ban.

We agreed that it would be better to support the state’s effort as being more effective than each city or county having ordinances. The state failed to pass a measure, so now it is back to the localities.

With floating islands of plastic in our oceans, some larger than Texas, we cannot act too soon to stop adding to this horrifying pollution. The bags are not easy or cheap to recycle. They blow from trash cans and from the landfill. It costs the garbage company $1,500 a ton to extract bags from blue bin collections at the recycling facility. The garbage company can only sell it for $200 a ton.

There are parts of human nature that fight change; people can be lazy or feel entitled to have whatever they want. A better part recognizes change can sometimes lead humans to be better stewards of the gifts bestowed upon us by Mother Nature.

Christine Mulholland

San Luis Obispo

Consider negatives

Although some may consider the plastic bag ban “idiocy” and say the local government has no right to dictate this aspect of our lives, I would ask all to consider the negative effects of our plastic waste on the land, the oceans and the many creatures that live there. There are several gigantic cesspools of waste, mostly plastic, in oceans around the world.

Further, it takes oil to produce plastic, and that has negative effects on your health and mine.

We do have to have some regulations to protect life and health, and it would seem that doing without plastic bags is a minor inconvenience. Please purchase some reusable cloth bags and keep them in your car. The whole Earth will thank you.

Elaine Townsend

San Luis Obispo

Vote for another

I attended the recent meeting of the Integrated Waste Management Authority, which has proposed a ban on plastic grocery bags and a charge of 10 cents for each paper grocery bag.

The ordinance is poorly written and unsupported by numbers. At the meeting, it was revealed that the actual number of plastic shopping bags that grocers release is not provided by the grocers. Also, it was disclosed that criminal penalties — fines and incarceration — for violating the ordinance would never be enforced.

The cities of Atascadero and Paso Robles held public meetings; opposition to this ordinance from these communities far exceeded support. Atascadero and Paso representatives opposed the ordinance.

My elected representative on the county Board of Supervisor is the chairman of the Integrated Waste Management board. That is James Patterson of District 5. The majority of his constituents reside and shop in Atascadero. It is clear that those represented by Mr. Patterson have expressed opposition to this ordinance. Despite this, Mr. Patterson supports a personal agenda that opposes this majority.

This ordinance is tentatively set to take effect in October 2012, shortly before District 5 will elect a county supervisor. Please consider voting for another representative.

George Schroff

Santa Margarita

Very concerned

What happened to our freedom in this county? Single-use plastic bags may be prohibited at stores countywide and retailers may charge at least 10 cents for paper bags if the SLO County waste board approves the plan in January. This is appalling. The concern appears to be a landfill problem.

Recently I was at the landfill. What I saw was a number of trucks unloading all kinds of lumber including good house doors. Most of what I observed was burnable; this lumber could be used in a furnace or fireplace. This material takes up space in the landfill. It seems to me using this lumber either by storing it in a separate location and burning it in some furnace or allowing county residents to pick up what they can use is much better than charging for paper bags that affect thousands of households.

I see where we are losing our freedom every day by politicians; something has to change soon in this country or we will be a has-been. We have lost many lives in this country defending its freedom to have it disappear before our eyes. I am a World War II veteran and very concerned where our politicians are taking us.

Merle L. Price

Paso Robles