Eco-friendly or cost-conscious

Letters to the Editor (The Amherst Daily News)
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To the Editor,

Here is something to think about that has made me see red these last few weeks. I believe in protecting the environment and will do whatever it takes to ensure a better tomorrow for my children and grandchildren, but when I keep hearing that companies want us to pay for their mistakes, and try to say they are thinking about the environment, that is hard to swallow.
Years ago, stores would package up your purchases in paper bags or boxes. You kept the bags and boxes to use again, burnt them or put them in the garbage. The cost was added to the cost of the goods you bought. If they were put in the garbage, they would rot and return to the soil without harming the environment - or that's what I heard anyway.
But as the years went by, store management was looking for ways to reduce the cost for bags. Along came plastic bags that were a lot cheaper and took up a lot less space. However, they did not rot and stayed in the ground for many years causing damage to the environment and taking up space in the landfills.
The government then got involved and started recycling. These bags were still supplied by the stores at no cost but again were included in the cost of the items sold at the different stores. But the cost of the bags has gone up due to the cost of oil going up.
Also, government has been on the backs of these companies to reduce or replace these bags while consumers have expressed concern for the environment. In response, public relations personnel have come along with cloth bags to replace the plastic bags. They get to advertise their log on them and charge the customers for them. If they do not buy them, we will force the customers to pay for plastic. We can say we're doing this for the environment and both the government and the customer will say how environmentally-friendly we've become. The companies reduce their cost by making the customer pay for the bags and they come out looking like good corporate citizens.
If the companies are doing this to protect the environment, give the bags to the customers to replace the plastic bags. Then they can say they are making the switch from plastic to cloth for the sake of the environment and not for the profit or to cut costs - which is what I think it is all about.
We, as consumers, are doing our share for the environment. It's time they pay to clean up their mess.

Rubin Millard, Oxford

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