While I continue to be greatly encouraged by the ongoing "grass-roots" efforts to curb and ultimately eliminate the production of single use shopping bags and plastic straws, I'm afraid I see these efforts as falling into the category of "not seeing the forest for the trees." Indeed, every little bit helps, but this problem, in my opinion, is the tip of the proverbial plastic iceberg.

There is no doubt that we have to get plastics out of our oceans and waterways, but much of the damage done is in the production of these and all other plastic consumer goods. So my point, and I'm sorry, but it is a very "inconvenient truth.” We disguise reality with the use of the label "PVC," but the use of plastic siding on our homes, plastic fencing in our yards, plastic casings for our windows and plastic yard toys for our children far — really far — outweighs the environmental threat posed by our use of bags and straws.

As a contractor for almost 40 years, I always chuckled at the industry axiom "Vinyl is final;" that is just patently untrue. There have been many studies conducted that indicate that, over time, the cost of scraping and repainting a home is equal to or cheaper than the cost of installing plastic siding. But I'm straying from my actual point.

If you consider the environmental impact of plastic siding production, plus the production of the "backer" (usually a form of styrofoam), the degradation of the siding due to sun, heat, rain, etc. and the disposal of the siding (or fencing, windows, etc.), we have an environmental disaster that is happening as I type.

Like the Dutch boy with his finger in the dike, you might stop one little leak, but brace for the flood.

Tim Reed, Gansevoort

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