Plastic bag debate

Dear Editor:It appears as though bad ideas don't ever go away. They just get recycled. Just when I thought Downey was safe from the nonsense of banning plastic bags, Ms. Altman resurrects the notion based on her opinion that they are "generally a nuisance." (Letters to the Editor, 7/21/11) first of all, I happen to find plastic bags incredibly useful and versatile so perhaps "nuisance" is in the eye of the beholder? There are, indeed, lots of things I find to be a nuisance - like saggy pants that reveal boxer shorts or car subwoofers blasting rap music loud enough to alter bowel movements - but I don't advocate banning them because, well, this is America. Banning stuff is generally what dictators and communists do. In a nutshell, here are some reasons why Ms. Altman's idea would be bad for Downey: 1.) It would place a financial burden on those who could not afford to regularly buy paper bags. 2.) The reusable bags can be a health hazard. 3.) Research has shown that the paper bags are not more environmentally friendly and, oddly enough, neither are the reusable bags. 4.) Plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable. But to address Ms. Altman's concerns about the plastic bags, we could, instead, do something more in line with the creative and inventive American spirit like, say, fixing the drains so plastic bags don't flow into the sewers and the ocean. That seems like the most logical place to start. This is, after all, America. -- Alaina Niemann, Downey

Dear Editor: I would like to reply to Ms. Altman's Letter to the Editor titled "Plastic Bag Ban", in turn using the "Government Solution." First, I am in full agreement that plastic bags have no place in our community! Second, does anyone remember when there were only paper bags. I do, for when I was in high school I worked for Alpha Beta Markets and would stock the backroom of the store with all sizes of bags, some stacked 20 feet high, all for the customers' satisfaction. The cost of the bags were part of doing business. There were no government mandates, the markets supplied the bags free of charge as a form of customer service. It was a part of doing business. Today is no different. Let the free market decide if they are willing to supply free paper bags or impose a hidden tax by charging 10 cents per paper bag; but let us keep our City Council out of this matter. We must keep local government out of private enterprises. If the Downey City Council were to vote on this tax, I would need to stop shopping in Downey and would shop in Bellflower, Norwalk, Lakewood, etc. where there would be no tax. Why do people believe government is always the answer? If a family of four purchased their weekly groceries and needed 10 bags, that would equate to a $1 hidden tax. $1.00 X 52 = $52 a year! In addition, grocery companies will realize they need to go back to the future and rid us of plastic bags and supply us with"recycled paper bags" at no cost to the consumers, for when the first market starts charging, another will seize the moment and advertise they offer free "recycled paper bags" to their loyal customers. I would truly patronize any company that would be so customer friendly. Just look at McDonalds, they did away with the styrofoam "Big Mac" containers and now use cardboard paper containers that are environmentally friendly. A true example of free market practices. In closing, regarding reusable cloth bags: great idea on paper but very dangerous for the average consumers who could possibly fail one time to wash their reusable bags after transporting fish or poultry and would pay dearly after reusing the bag, possibly incurring numerous heath hazards associated with the above items. -- Lloyd Hudspeth, Downey

********** Published: July 28, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 15