Better options for plastic bag ban

Dear Editor:I would like to shine a different light on the banning plastic bags in our city. ("Plastic Bag Debate," Letters to the Editor, 8/4/11) I agree with Mrs. Altman to a certain point; yes, I think we have a problem that needs to be addressed, but where I disagree with her is banning a well-designed and useful product, and I don't believe that banning is the right approach to the problem. When we realized that cars were polluting and harming the environment, we didn't ban the cars, we passed a piece of legislation to force the automakers to install pollution control systems to minimize the negative impact on the environment. Let's pretend for a minute that we chose to ban the cars instead of implementing emission control systems. All those people working building cars, selling cars, manufacturing auto parts and everybody in the auto industry would be out of a job, translating to millions of jobs lost overnight. And that's the point I'm trying to make: I'm afraid that banning plastic bags will have a devastating effect on plastic manufacturing companies, resulting in many jobs being eliminated. Do we really want that, especially right now when our economy is at a very vulnerable point? It's no secret we're losing jobs to China left and right, especially in the manufacturing sector, and let's face it, those jobs are not coming back. A couple of weeks ago I read an article in which three giants, Lockheed martin, Cisco and Borders announced massive layoffs; all three combined were putting 28,000 people out of a job. This is why I believe it's important we think of the unwanted results of our decisions; job creation and job protection should be a top priority right now. I believe a much better option would be passing legislation so the plastic bag manufacturers produce biodegradable bags. A biodegradable plastic bag will disintegrate or decompose by itself in a matter of a few months, versus a non-biodegradable bag that would last up to 30 years. I could be wrong, but I believe plastic bag manufacturers are already complying with this environmental regulation and, if that is the case, why are we making such a big deal out of this? -- Victor M. Malagon, Downey

Dear Editor: Lars Clutterham should explain an item in the next installment of his anti-bag campaign. ("Plastic Bags and Freedom," 8/4/11) How will banning inexpensive, durable and sanitary plastic bags help the City Council meet its budgeted 20 percent sales tax increase? The beneficiary of a ban will be stores like Costco in Norwalk and Lakewood - and Downey gets no tax revenue from them. Hurt will be Downey merchants and their remaining customers. Notice the graphic in a recent Fresh & Easy mailer. Pictured is a reusable bag topped with eggs, bread and a gallon of soap. In what condition will the consumer find the eggs and bread when they get home? Buy far less or switch to stores outside Downey are the immediate choices. I know my answer, and the Council loses either way. -- Gordon Lundene, Downey

********** Published: August 11, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 17