To the Editor:
In the letter to the Editor (“Data against use of plastic bags is flawed,” Community Advocate, May 24, 2019) Bill Halter makes some compelling arguments against plastic bags from a utility and economics perspective, but his economic argument is also flawed, because it does not consider the external costs of plastic in the environment, which are borne by society at large, just as air pollution from fuel burning and groundwater pollution from dumping of toxic waste are, not the companies that generate the pollution. Plastic waste costs go beyond clean up and include human health problems and death of wildlife.
Paper degrades completely in the environment. Plastic does not. Plastic in the environment is just as much a pollutant as any other unregulated waste.
Plastic waste is found all over the world, from the bottom of the Mariana Trench 36,000 feet below the ocean’s surface to the beaches of the most isolated deserted islands throughout the world.
If the companies that make and distribute plastic bags are also responsible for collection and recycling, then the economics change considerably.
As far as I am concerned, Northborough is spot on in their decision to ban plastic bags. They should go further and ban plastic containers from restaurants as well.