HOW ARE THEY BETTER?

Editor, Daily News

I am writing today because I believe it may help serve our community.

Recently, a law was passed to ban plastic bags in Athol. I was unaware this was up for vote, as were all of the people I have spoken to. However, like many others, I thought it was a great idea and I wish I had been invited to discuss the pros and cons.

Seems like common sense — bring your cloth or whatever bags over and over again; don’t use plastic — right?

Now, the other day, my family was at a local buffet and, in this same spirit, I took my plate back to the buffet where I was told by a waitress that I had to use a new plate every time. This made no sense to me, until she explained that there was a risk of cross-contamination, like if I sneezed on my plate and spread a virus!

I thought I was being a good steward of the environment by re-using my plate, when, in fact, I could have gotten others sick.

Now, this thought stayed with me, but like many others I’m afraid of the backlash if I disagree with a popular political position. I want people to like me.

I thought about cross-contamination, and how anyone could bring in any bag from the most unsanitary conditions and put it on the table ahead of me! Now, that person could have soaked their cloth bag in a toilet and put it up there to share with us all!

Then, today, I went to a local grocery store and saw on display how the spirit of this law has been ignored, as new, “thicker” plastic bags — called “re-usable” — were available for 10 cents each! This means if you want sanitary bags, it will cost you 10 cents each. And how are they more re-usable than the current bags? Seems like now we will pay more to put more (thicker plastic) bags into the landfill.

The current bags are very re-usable for lunches, gifts, wrapping food in, bagging homemade ice, and picking up dog poop. How are the 10-cent bags any better?

Our family all has recycle bag tubes hanging in our homes. We put our plastic bags in them for re-use. Our tube generally runs out of bags for re-use. These are ideas that could be brought up for discussion, had there been one.

I have LED lights and turn off the water when I shave and brush my teeth. I use synthetic oil for less oil changes. I use my bath towel three or four times. I shut off lights and eat only sustainable seafood. This makes sense. The new, thicker “re-usable” bags will only hurt the environment more, while costing families more money, all the while adding to the threat of cross-contamination in the form of E. coli and other things.

I believe the intentions of this law were good, but the outcome will be bad. It’s unfortunate that there was not a public debate about this issue. Perhaps, mistakes would not have been made.

Maybe there is a high school student with a microscope out there looking for a science project on random re-usable bag contamination?!

Leo Berthiaume

Athol

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Athol Daily News

PO Box 1000
225 Exchange Street
Athol, MA 01331
Phone: (978) 249-3535

 

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