, Newburyport, MA

April 2, 2014

A change in behavior to give up plastic bags

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

I am writing in support of the ban on plastic bags. I understand why people are against the ban — we’ve become accustomed to the convenience of using plastic bags. What helps me is to think about what people did before plastic bags came on the scene. As I remember it, merchants used paper bags and shoppers used their own canvas-type or reusable plastic tote bags. It would be wonderful if people would do this again, but I think that most of us would agree that this is wishful thinking. If plastic bags are available, they will probably be used by a lot of people who either don’t care about the impact on our environment or are too busy to think about it.

We’ve had to change our behavior in other ways — the way we use (or avoid) pesticides and other chemicals; our consumption of gas, oil, electricity and water; where we smoke cigarettes (if we still do); the kinds of cars we drive; and countless other ways. While we didn’t always like the change, we adapted to it and have found that, in most cases, it wasn’t so painful in the long run.

All that is being asked of us in the banning of plastic bags is a change in our behavior. If we can imagine the good that will come of it and the benefit to our own health and well-being, I believe we will become inspired to join this worthy cause.

I remember when people were opposed to, and fought against, the idea of using litter bags.

Many thought it was their right to throw their trash on our roads and highways. I would ask those who are opposed to the ban on plastic bags to consider the fact that even the plastic bag industry is asking us to cut down our consumption of their bags in an effort to protect our environment. To me, that is a pretty strong case for banning them.

We are all in this together. Making a change in the way we treat our precious earth will be for the good of all of us and for generations to come.

Other cities and towns have done it, why not Newburyport? And, if not now, when?

Jeanette Isabella