Letter: Stop complaining, get rid of plastic bags
To the editor:
I just can't stand it anymore. So here it is, a response to those who find that banning single-use plastic bags is a terrible imposition.
So many people seem to need them (for free!) for various reasons. I would suggest that there are solutions to those needs that don't entail spoiling the world with deteriorating plastic. And I agree that paper bags are not the answer.
I am lucky (?) enough to be as old as the hills and remember a time when rampant use of throwaway plastic did not exist. When people stored their leftovers in glass. At that time in the U.S., my folks did carry their purchases home in paper. Then I went to study in Europe for a couple of years, where — guess what? — you were expected to bring a bag to put your purchases in. If you didn't, the vendor looked at you as if you were an idiot.
City folks still do this, in the form of wheeled bags as they have to walk their purchases home. People in other countries bring bags to the store. Entire countries have banned those polluting bags, including developing nations where the population is not wealthy, such as Morocco. And no one misses them.
So now we have re-usable plastic bags, a step up from single use. For which, there are objections:
— They might or do get food residue in them. As I have lived by the rule that what doesn't kill me makes me stronger, I don't worry about this. If you do, wash them!
— People forget to bring them from their car into the store. When I first started to use them, this was a problem for me as well. I realized that I had to train myself. So, instead of considering the distance back to my car as vast as the Grand Canyon, I started making myself walk back to get them. Yep, park the cart and go all the way back to the car. In time, bringing them in became a habit. And maybe I walked off a few calories to make room for the coffee cake I wanted to buy. It's a win-win.
— The cost. Low-income families just can't afford to pay the 99 cents per bag. And it is true that there are many financially strapped people living in the Berkshires. Perhaps we should set up a distribution point where folks can get them without cost, as happens with food at the food pantry. I would gladly donate to that.
So grow up, people! Follow the lead of our millennial kids and grandkids who would like to have a clean planet. And eat a fish that isn't 50% plastic beads.
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