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The costs of 'free' plastic bags

November 02, 2011

I agree with Robert Morrison that plastic bags come in handy in our day-to-day lives (“Those plastic bags do come in handy,” Nov. 1), but like many things that we commonly use that are detrimental to the environment, we really must change our habits when it comes to these items.

There are other alternatives for those who feel that plastic bags are the only answer for certain jobs.

First, there is really no need to line most waste baskets with plastic bags. In the kitchen, try to compost your vegetable wastes (not meat or bread products) if you have an area in your yard for a compost bin.

Use a reusable plastic container with lid that lasts for a year or more that can be purchased at a paint or hardware store. The container and lid are made with recyclable materials and therefore can be recycled when you are done with them and need to replace them.

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Biodegradable “plastic” bags made with cornstarch are available at pet stores and certain food markets that can be used for many purposes — collecting animal waste, lining waste baskets and collecting food wastes for disposal.

Yes, these items do cost some money, compared to the “free” plastic bags we have been using, but the real costs of our continued use of plastic bags is much higher for the environment than for us.

Dean Briggs

Glendale

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