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Plastic bags are reusable and recyclable

In a recent opinion piece, “Baltimore bag ban would help kick plastic problem” (Aug. 22), the authors claimed that there is no way to properly dispose of plastic bags.

This is surprising to hear as many stores in Baltimore recycle plastic bags, including Harris Teeter, Safeway, PriceRite, Giant, Target and MOM’s Organic Market.

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Many other types of plastic film can be diverted from the landfill and recycled alongside plastic bags, including dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, produce bags, Amazon pouches and air pillows, and product overwrap (this is the plastic around packages of toilet paper, paper towels, water bottles, and similar items).

Recycled bags and film go back to the store’s distribution center on empty delivery trucks, where they are then transported to plastic film recycling centers around the country. Recycled plastic bags and film are eventually turned into new bags, composite lumber, building and construction materials, and much more.

Plastic bags also benefit from a high reuse rate. Some studies have found that nearly 78% of plastic bags are reused, most often as trash can liners or to pick up after pets. This not only gives a second life to “single-use” plastic retail bags, but it also saves Baltimoreans money by offsetting the purchase of thicker and larger bags for these purposes.

We agree completely with the authors that plastic bags do not belong in the environment. We look forward to working with Baltimore city officials on ways to reduce overall litter and waste and improve sustainability in Charm City.

Erin Graziani, Washington

The writer is communications manager of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, which represents the U.S. plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry.

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