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March 27, 2000
Bag recycling opinion off-key


Walter Bobruk doesn't have a clue about the blues. (March 3 Mailbag, "Colored bags bring on the blues.")

Moreover, he obviously doesn't have the faintest idea about how a market works.

He seriously thinks plastic bag suppliers can or should try to restrict and dictate to their customers the types and colors of bags that will be manufactured for sale? Duh?

Worse, Walt is ignorant about the remarkable environmental and material conservation attributes of plastic bags compared with paper. The source-reduction benefits of plastic bags far outweigh the recycling benefits of paper bags, as numerous studies in the United States, Germany and Canada have confirmed over and over again, since 1990.

Walt, recycling that makes sustainable sense economically and environmentally will continue to grow, but buyers of bags will continue to specify packaging that meets their marketing and economic objectives first, just as recyclers specify their incoming material stream to meet their own marketing and economic objectives first. When both of those streams are simpatico, perhaps you'll be happier. But, to suggest that the selfish goals of recycling entrepreneurs should dictate the choice of packaging material specifications two to four steps up the marketing chain is not just naive, but genuinely stupid.

When it comes to singing the blues, give me B.B. King, not Walt Bobruk and his ilk.

George A. Makrauer

ComAd Management Group Inc.
Treasure Island, Fla.

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