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Dick Rudolph, Dana Point
Xavier Stevens wrote in a letter to the editor in the April 26 edition of the Dana Point Times said the use of plastic bags in the U.S. reaches over 100 billion per year, and the production of these bags requires 504 million gallons of oil.
Of course, this assertion is not sourced.
The U.S. EPA produced a 198-page study of municipal waste in 2009. In this study, the count of bags is not presented, but on page 53 the weight of plastic bags, sacks and wraps is listed as 3,850,000 tons, of which 360,000 tons is recycled. This is a recycling rate of 9.35 percent, not the 1 percent stated in Stevens’ letter to the editor. The bag count at 4 grams per bag is actually 873 billion which consumes zero gallons of petroleum, since U.S. plastic grocery bags are made from natural gas.
The whole marine environment impact is an urban myth generated by misinterpretation of a 1987 Canadian study which accounted for the deaths of marine life due to plastic lines, floats and other commercial marine fishing gear. Many others have misquoted the study which made no mention of plastic bags.
Finally, the demonization of plastic grocery bags as single use is the biggest hoax of all in this discussion. Most of you know the vast majority of the grocery bags you bring home serve some other function, you can name them yourself. Even if the bag is discarded, it goes into the recycle bin. In my neighborhood the recycle bins are fuller than the garbage bins.
There is already a litter law on the books which apparently goes unenforced, since litter was the main argument used to ban the plastic grocery bag. Instead, a new law is passed which will require more enforcement effort than the original litter law and ultimately does nothing to stop the litter problem.
Even if no Dana Point resident drops so much as a crumb into the environment, the thousands of visitors surely will. This leaves the original problem of litter law enforcement in addition to the bag ban. This makes no sense, but that is clearly not the point.
I continue to enjoy shopping in nearby communities instead of Dana Point and hope the City Council also enjoys its reduction in tax revenue.