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Life without plastic bags

August 03, 2008

A friend who recently returned from New Zealand said that country only permits use of a kind of plastic bag that has 100% disintegration in a year with no toxic residue. Why don't we have that here? ("Unclogging the path to a plastic bag solution," Consumer Confidential, July 27.)

Plastic usage is so ubiquitous that an environmentally friendly substitute is mandatory before we choke to death on its detritus.

Betts Harley

Costa Mesa

For feline fanciers who keep their cats indoors, elimination of plastic bags would constitute a disaster of epic proportions. There is no reasonable substitute for containing or disposing of scoops of clumped litter.

Claire Berman

Los Angeles

For the past month our household has been using a biodegradable bag for food storage and waste. The bag is durable, compostable, biodegradable and is the official biodegradable bag of the city of San Francisco.

This is a much better use of corn than ethanol. Los Angeles should consider including this option.

Michael Sachs

Los Angeles

I like being able to fold a plastic bag up to carry in my purse. I couldn't do that with a paper bag.

These bags are sometimes useful at a potluck. I think we do have to consider people's jobs that would be lost here if the plastic bags were done away with.

Linda Yantorn


I use canvas shopping bags for groceries, wax paper for my kid's sandwiches and no bag at all in the produce department (I'm going to wash the stuff later anyway).

But every day, despite my efforts, one plastic bag still manages to make its way into my eco-fortress, and it is wrapped around my daily Los Angeles Times. Here in San Diego, the chance of a rubber-banded paper being soaked by rain (we get 9.9 inches a year) are about the same as getting a parking space in front of George's in La Jolla.

Come on, Times, how many millions of plastic bags could you save from the bellies of birdies and fishies by going back to the band?

Susan Wiczynski

La Jolla

Providing bigger, heavier disposable plastic bags is a minuscule step to correcting the plastic bag problem. Get directly to the sources of the problem: providers and consumers. We must be coercive because most people are too self-centered to be bothered to act on behalf of the environment routinely.

People can keep bags in the car trunk, refuse bags when they are not necessary (bananas do not need a produce bag because they are pre-wrapped by nature), recycle the odd bag and buy biodegradable garbage bags. Doing it is easy; wanting to do it requires legal incentive.

David Eggenschwiler

Los Angeles

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