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Letter: Poloncarz deserves credit for plan to aid environment

Poloncarz deserves credit for plan to aid environment

I read with interest the letter of March 16 concerning food-borne illnesses that can be carried in reusable shopping bags. The writer questioned County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s recent proposal to ban the free plastic bags given with each purchase in stores, in favor of customer-owned bags that are used over and over.

While it is true that reusable bags can contain bacteria from food if the bags are used multiple times, there are ways of ensuring that such germs are kept at bay.

Knowing that our good neighbors to the North have banned the use of plastic bags for many years now, I checked the Canadian government website and found its recommendations for this practice. First, it suggests using cloth bags (made from cotton or hemp) that can be regularly tossed into the laundry, or recycled plastic bags (which can last up to 15 years) and washing them out with hot soapy water. Also, animal products should be carried separately from plant-based foods (keep the steaks out of the vegetable bag) which is something cashiers in grocery stores should be cautioned to do anyway.

This is the 21st century and we can do better than allowing plastic bags to litter our surroundings and cause injury to animals, all the while choking our landfills forever since they are not biodegradable. Anytime an elected official wants to help save the environment, he should be given all due credit. Poloncarz should keep up the good work!

Judith Geer