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We can do more to encourage recycling, reusable bags

The Boston Globe

THE EDITORIAL “Drowning in a sea of plastic” (April 6) underscores why the Massachusetts Food Association took an initiative more than five years ago to decrease the distribution of both plastic AND paper bags while increasing their recycling as well as the sale of reusable bags in grocery stores.

More than 380 establishments participate in a memorandum of understanding signed by the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Food Association on behalf of retail food stores in the Commonwealth. In 2010 we reduced the number of plastic and paper bags that are distributed by a third, and reached this goal three years ahead of schedule.

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Those participating in the memorandum must take back plastic bags to be recycled. This includes competitors’ bags and other plastic wraps of products, thus keeping this material from going to landfills.

Programs such as the one in Washington that you cited actually place a 5-cent fee on both plastic and paper bags. Levying a fee on plastic bags, which you advocate in your editorial, would push more people to paper bags, which have their own environmental issues through production and after use.

We all can do more to recycle bags and other plastics, and use more reusable bags.

Brian Houghton

Vice President

Massachusetts Food Association

Boston

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