Reusable containers. COURTESY PHOTO BY MARIAN HARMAN

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Vote Yes to Reduce Use of Plastic Bags by Retailers

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Reusable containers. COURTESY PHOTO BY MARIAN HARMAN

Reusable containers. COURTESY PHOTO BY MARIAN HARMAN

Article 25 on the warrant for Westford’s Annual Town Meeting, is entitled, “A bylaw to regulate the retail use of single-use plastic checkout bags.” If passed, it would reduce the use of plastic bags in Westford, and I think it’s a very good idea.

Until recently, our family was using plastic bags for everything, separating and storing grocery produce, carrying things, and protecting the ingredients of our on-the-road lunches. But, we have learned that the use of plastic bags is disastrous to the environment. They get into the ocean and kill animals that mistake them for jellyfish. They fill up the animals’ stomachs, never move on, and thus slowly starve them to death. Many plastics that we assume are being recycled, even the bags we return to the grocery store, are actually ground up and put into landfills. These tiny pieces end up leaching their toxic ingredients into the water, or if incinerated, releasing their toxic ingredients into the air. Other plastic bags end up littering our roadsides and woods.

How about using reusable containers? We set about trying to minimize our use of plastic bags of all sorts. As far as grocery shopping goes, we found that Walmart’s small cloth mesh laundry bags with zippers, can serve as great produce bags. They serve the added purpose of keeping the produce dry, so it doesn’t spoil as quickly. We have gotten some compliments from grocery store clerks on these. And, now we keep the mesh bags and the cloth grocery bags in the car, so we don’t forget them. We use small glass storage dishes for our sandwiches. To be sure, we are still using some plastic bags, but at least have vastly minimized the number. Every little bit helps.

Please plan to attend Town Meeting, March 24, 10 a.m. at the Abbot School on Depot St., and vote to clean up our environment. — Marian Harman, Old Colony Drive, Westford