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Why ban bags in this recession? 

San Luis Obispo

Does no one care about retaining jobs? There are plastic bag manufacturers here in the United States—several in California. And, of course, there are warehousemen who stock them and truckers who deliver them. It’s similar for paper bags. Knowing this, how can the county Integrated Waste Management Authority even contemplate banning these types of bags (“County considers ban on bags,” July 22)?

The U.S. unemployment rate is 9.2 percent; California’s is 11.8 percent. It seems counterproductive to our economy to consider an ordinance that could negatively impact any California or U.S. job—especially now.

And why would the county’s Integrated Waste Management Authority want to ban paper bags? They are biodegradable, recyclable, and reusable. Plastic bags are also recyclable and reusable, and although those that end up in landfills do not degrade as quickly as paper, they degrade faster than some other materials put in our landfill, and they take up much less space.

A solution designed to retain jobs, although it would make plastic bag recycling more cumbersome, is to retain paper bags, replace plastic bags with biodegradable plastic bags (also made in the USA), and continue to let businesses and nonprofits sell or give away various types of cloth bags for groceries, shopping, and other uses. If, however, biodegradable plastic bags cost more, this might not be good for retail businesses or consumers.

Another solution would be the one our state legislators took: Maintain the status quo and do not pass the ordinance. Once we are out of this recession, we could look at making changes without the negative impacts that concern us today.

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