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Letter: County must make effort to recycle all plastic bags

County must make effort to recycle all plastic bags

Approximately seven years ago, I sat down and penned a letter to each member of the Erie County Legislature and every member of the Amherst and Clarence town boards, making the case for pursuing an eventual countywide major recycling effort or curtailment, if not total elimination, of plastic bags.

At the time I pointed out plastic bags are environmental abominations across every avenue affecting our environment and what an excellent opportunity it would be for our region to be in the vanguard, leading the way to clean up our environment and demonstrate that Erie County is truly an eco-friendly community. I also stated that the San Francisco Bay area was in the early stages of implementing a program to deal with plastic bags and China would be embarking on such a program in the near future. Sadly, but not surprisingly, I did not receive one reply. Since then, these two programs have become smashing success stories. Many other communities are beginning to come on stream with similar programs as well.

Today, even some individuals in our area are taking the time to collect their plastic bags and turn them in at drop-off points in our retail and grocery outlets. While these efforts are commendable, it is not enough to be effective without all local governments at least implementing programs that give residents the ability to include plastic bags with other recyclables and in turn have these items recycled by each municipality or its trash collection contractor.

Most people today are better informed and know what is at stake and are fundamentally ready for this change. Future generations will thank us for doing so. We just need transactional elected and appointed officials to become transformational ones and lead, legislate and effectively implement what is necessary to do so.

Edward F. McKee

East Amherst