Letters, May 4
Nickel-a-bag a mistake
I support the Oregon Legislature’s proposed statewide ban on single-use plastic bags and charging a fee for sturdy, reusable plastic bags. But the provision to charge 5 cents for paper bags is a mistake. It only means that families like ours will be putting more plastic into landfills.
We used to get most of our groceries in paper bags and then reuse them as garbage bags. Since the universal bag charge was passed in Ashland, we now get free paper bags only when shopping in Medford. But our supply of free paper garbage bags often runs out.
So what do we do? Pay 5 cents for a paper “garbage bag” or get a roll of plastic ones for less than two cents each? The plastic, being waterproof and flexible, holds more and is less messy. Much better deal.
So since the Ashland ordinance, we’ve gone from nearly 100% paper garbage bags to about half and half. With a statewide 5-cent fee for paper, we’ll probably go 100% plastic.
I can understand charging a penny or two to encourage reusable bags. But paper bags are 100% recyclable and decompose quickly in the landfill. We need to keep them competitive with plastic for reuse as garbage bags. A couple cents makes sense, but not a nickel.