In a littered landscape, Boston eyes a ban on bags

City takes big step in targeting this single-use scourge

We need to move beyond our use-once, throw-it-away culture. Boston’s proposed ban on plastic bags will help curb one of the most unnecessary sources of waste and pollution in our environment (“Boston on track to ban single-use bags,” Page A1, Nov. 30)

We’ve all seen discarded plastic bags caught in fences or fluttering from tree branches. But plastic pollution doesn’t just look bad; it is a deadly ecological disaster, choking marine wildlife and inhibiting organisms’ reproduction and development.

Plastics are turning up in every corner of the planet, from the depths of the oceans to icebergs in Antarctica, where they will remain for millennia as fossils from the 21st century.


Bag bans work. In California, the annual coastal cleanup reaped a whopping 72 percent fewer plastic bags after a statewide ban was enacted. In the city of San Jose, 90 percent fewer bags were found in storm drains following a local ban.

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Nothing we use for five minutes should harm our planet for generations. Thank you, Boston, for moving to ban the plastic bag.

Ben Hellerstein

State director

Environment Massachusetts


A ‘BYOB’ shopper since 1992

In 1992, while in the Netherlands on business, I went to a supermarket and was surprised to see no bags at the checkout lines. As a visitor, I had to buy paper bags. All the the locals had canvas bags.

Upon my return home, I began using some canvas bags I owned. Some time later, Roche Brothers in Natick started giving a nickel for each canvas bag used in place of paper or plastic.

Even now, when food baggers ask me, “Paper or plastic,” I reply, “Neither,” and hand them my canvas bags.

Edward Lawrence