, Newburyport, MA


March 21, 2014

Don't outlaw simple plastic bags

To the editor:

Creating a plastic bag law is not the right thing to do. I agree that there is a problem, but throwing a law at it is not the way to go. I do not want someone forcing their agenda onto me. I recycle every plastic bag I receive, and I think the vast majority of people are responsible too. Do not punish all of us for the acts of a very few.

Members of Citizens for a Sustainable Bagging should be spending their energy educating local shop owners and clerks to simply ask the customer if he/she needs a bag. This would cut out a lot of needless plastic bag use. Checkout counter clerks are in the habit of putting items (even one) in a plastic bag. I often need to tell the checkout clerk that I don’t need a bag at all. I do occasionally hear a clerk ask me if I need a bag and I am impressed. This concept needs to be expanded. And, as customers we need to get in the habit of letting the clerk know that we do not need a bag if there are only one or two items.

I think reusable bags are a really good idea. We’ve been using them at the grocery stores for a couple of years now. The group should be working to find sponsors to pay for reusable bags, and give them out to stores, to be given out to customers. But don’t outlaw the simple plastic bag.

The idea of putting a basket of items on the checkout counter at a local drugstore and having the clerk tell me I can’t have a plastic bag is just not acceptable. I don’t want to have to remember to bring a bag into the store. That is not my responsibility. Recycling the plastic bag properly is my responsibility and I accept it.

Jim Bailey


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