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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 27, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Bag tax: Seattle taking step in the right direction

Seattle a pioneer of reusable bag use

After reading the article, “20 cents per bag: Would it change our behavior?” [page one, July 18], I find myself questioning a few things.

I think it is amazing that Seattle is one of the pioneers on reusable shopping bags. We have always been a fairly green city. Because of this, I wonder why there is so much backlash against this new plastic-bag tax?

Surely, 20 cents seems a bit steep, but it’s definitely an incentive to purchase reusable bags that only cost a few initial dollars while providing a lifetime of saving the environment.

It’s a simple solution to the problem we see today with plastic bags, among other items, ending up in landfills across the country. There is no excuse, especially if Seattle is offering a free tote for every family. Sure, it will be a hassle at first, but I think this will revolutionize how we shop.

Keep the green coming!

— Brittany Gerhart, Renton

With enforcement, bad habits changed for betterment of all

In the past year or so, many excellent local and state rulings have provided better structure for our safety and quality of life but little or no publicity or enforcement has occurred to provide motivation to change old habits.

Some examples: continued texting and cellphone use while driving, little or no public knowledge of the 3-foot clearance rule for cyclists and pedestrians and continued restaurant use of styrofoam containers in Seattle.

Now, voters will be inundated with propaganda from the American Chemistry Council and others to eliminate the fee for using plastic bags, reversing a positive and progressive environmental commitment we have made to lessen the impact of plastics in Puget Sound and in the oceans.

To make positive changes for public safety and better quality of life — any change, individually or collectively — takes enormous will and effort to rise above old habits and behaviors.

It helps to be informed and understand the reasons for these new positions. Sometimes it takes the discipline of law enforcement to encourage better behavior.

With collective, conscious choices to be and do better as human beings, there will always be some hesitation and resistance — but making evolutionary changes is a certain part of moving upward and forward in learning to live more harmoniously with our planet and one another.

If internal motivation doesn’t provide enough discipline to do what is right, external enforcement can close the gap. Despite how I personally favor less legal interference in personal lives, improving our collective future must be a higher priority.

— Denise Mannino, Kirkland

Comments | More in Environment, Seattle, Taxes

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