2015-10-02 / Letters

Bag ban needs adjustment

To the editor:

This new ban and 5-cent fee for plastic bags in grocery stores is a start, but in the wrong direction. I am someone who has been using reusable shopping bags for more than 20 years. The flaws I see in this new ordinance is that it’s targeting grocery and convenience stores and that it is worded “single use” and for when purchasing “food.” Shouldn’t it be all bags from every store, including Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’s and the entire mall? Why stop there? Ban all plastic film/bags including sandwich bags, shrinkwrap and trash bags. They are all single use plastic bags, just of a different capacity and purpose. For those looking for a loophole, I reuse every Walmart or Target bag as a trash bag in my kitchen or bathrooms and haven’t purchased an official trash bag in more than a decade. Since I am reusing them, I should be exempt from the 5-cent fee, correct?

Once South Portland gets the wording worked out on this new ordinance, the next step is properly regulating the money. Letting the stores keep the money is ridiculous. No wonder the stores are supporting this and not putting up a fight. Their operational costs just went down. Those bags cost a penny, if even, and they will make profit on every bag used. I propose that if this 5-cent fee is going to come to fruition, it is treated like bottle redemption and the money goes to the city or state and those who recycle the bag get their money back. We have all seen those shopping bags bins before where plastic bags are recycled. CVS stores throughout the country have them. I have lived in other states where bringing your own bag takes 5 cents off your bill. If other places can do this, so can we.

Perhaps the city can issue bags to all households. The startup cost can be funded through bag advertising by eco-conscious companies here in our beloved city. I would use a free shopping bag covered in logos (like NASCAR does) every day.

I am proud of you, South Portland, for making strides to better our city and environment, just don’t be so impulsive and think it through before you start the plastic bag inquisition.

Dan Pugatch South Portland

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