I found last week's letters about the plastic bag ban truly puzzling (“Plastic bag ban bizarre,” Kim Bukowski; “Bag fees present an unequal burden,” Jim Ward). While plastic bags are recyclable, this doesn't mean that they are, in fact, recycled. According to the EPA, "In 2010, the category of plastics which includes bags, sacks, and wraps was recycled at almost 12 percent." That means that roughly 90 percent of this plastic is going into landfills or the environment.
The statement that "plastic bags are not hurting our environment" is nothing short of incredible. How, then, would Ms. Bukowski explain the estimated 100 million tons of plastic floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, whose particulate matter and toxic chemicals are slowly working their way into the food chain, the top of which is us?
As to switching from Felton Safeway to Scotts Valley, I doubt the cost-effectiveness of this. According to Google Maps, it's 5.4 miles roundtrip from Felton Safeway to Scotts Valley Safeway. At 20 miles per gallon and $3.75 per gallon, that's about $1 in gas alone — the cost of 10 paper bags — and doesn't include the other costs of running your car, which the IRS estimates would bring the cost of the trip up to about $2.75.
Why not just buy some shopping bags, throw them in your trunk, and be done with it? The cost is low — Amazon sells six for $10 plus shipping — and you'll save not only the cost of buying paper bags, but the environmental impact of creating and recycling both paper and plastic bags. If the little old ladies all across Europe can do it, so can you.
Ronald Bourret, Felton