Regarding the Sept. 23 Outdoors column, "Reduce, reuse and recycle to save the Pacific Ocean," the assertion that plastic generated from recycled plastic bags is of "limited usefulness" is incorrect.
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Once plastic bags are collected, there is a thriving secondary market that recycles those bags into millions of pounds of new products including durable lumber substitutes for decking, railroad ties and new recyclable plastic bags.
Offering reusable bags for purchase is a good idea, but people also need to learn what to do with their plastic bags in order to contribute to a cleaner environment. Plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable. The trick is making it easy to do, which involves establishing at-store recycling at local stores and promoting its availability.
Our organization, the Progressive Bag Alliance, is partnering with Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling, which encourages retailers to follow the lead of stores such as Fred Meyer and CARRS/Safeway to adopt "best practices" for plastic bag management policies and initiatives. Programs underway include: in-store plastic bag recycling bins; store rebates for reusing bags or using canvas bags; reusable bags for sale at low price points; training store clerks to reduce the number of bags used and offered; and internal plastic film recycling.
We applaud ALPAR and will continue working with those that are taking action in their community to promote recycling and reduce plastic waste. Please review our Web site - www.progressivebagalliance.com - for more information and useful recycling tool kits that you can share with your local retailer to spread the word or call ALPAR at (907) 644-7968
Senior managing director, Progressive Bag Alliance