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Advocate editorial board opinion: We can do better for our environment

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 24, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 23, 2011 at 7:24 p.m.


Brownsville made a lot of news late last year when it voted to levy a charge to use plastic bags - $1 for single-use plastic bags.

Certainly, paying a dollar a bag makes plastic bag users aware of the problem these flimsy containers cause. The problem is that plastic bags are an environmental threat.

They are lightweight and tend to blow right out of a dumpster or a trashcan. They end up along the highway or blown against a hedge - very unsightly. And they take several lifetimes to biodegrade.

According to www.reuseit.com, a plastic bag takes 1,000 years to biodegrade. And when they do break down, they contaminate our seas and ground.

We think most people use plastic bags out of habit.

If we got used to the idea of bringing our re-useable cloth bags to the grocery store and other businesses, we would be better off.

Plastic bags also cost an enormous amount to business, and usually these costs are passed along to the consumer. Also, we would help decrease the 12 million barrels of oil used to produce the 15 billion pounds of plastic each year.

As Marie Lester, director of the city of Victoria environmental programs, said, there are no plans to introduce a plastic bag ban here.

We think that's great. Another regulation probably would set people off.

But we also think we can all be better at disposal and use of the bags to help the environment.

Plastic bags should be placed in garbage sacks (which are biodegradable) and the sacks tied so bags cannot escape into the wind. And we should try to get used to the re-useable bags now available everywhere.

If we can eliminate plastic bags from our society, we would be better off for it.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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