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July 25, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE PLASTIC WASTE PRIMER: A Handbook for Citizens issued by the League of Women Voters (Lyons & Burford: $10.95; 137 pp., paperback original). Because it is largely inert and therefore hard to destroy, the 16 million tons of plastic Americans toss out annually causes a disproportionate amount of pollution. The essays in this thoughtful collection examine possible solutions to the complex problems of disposal: Simply eliminating the use of plastic is impractical, as other packaging materials have proven ineffective and/or require more energy to produce. The editors balance the arguments carefully, noting programs that have succeeded in reducing the glut of plastic waste.

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