'Greener' plastics may be the answer

The article on March 8 ("Life with plastic, not fantastic") was shocking.

However, as a senior citizen living alone and car-less, I have found that plastic products have improved my quality of life tremendously - items like plastic bottles, Tetra Paks, plastic carrier bags, polystyrene packaging, cling-wraps, plastic-film lined paper and bubble-packs.

Frankly, I would not want to return to my parents' days of glass bottles, newspaper-wrapped food items, paper carrier bags and cardboard boxes.

These were heavy and unhygienic, they disintegrated when wet, and were easily crushed.

No plastic would mean having to use environmentally unfriendly detergent and lots of precious water to wash bottles and blood- or juice-stained fabric carrier bags.

There would be greater food wastage without the longer shelf-life provided by protective plastic packaging.

Without plastic wrap, unit-packaged or frozen food items would be covered up, so we cannot see what we are buying.

And lugging groceries home by bus with bloodstained meat or fish packaging mixed with fruits and vegetables in stained fabric carrier bags would be a noxious nightmare.

Of course, paper could be a substitute for plastic in many instances, but what about saving trees?

Minding the environment is costly.

In parts of Europe, there is an eco tax imposed to pay for extra costs, so retailers can abide by environmentally friendly laws.

To enforce recycling, those in the European community where I once lived had to use special bin bags costing one euro (S$1.50) each, and rubbish not in these bags were left uncollected by the roadside.

Is this what we want in Singapore?

Let's face it - plastics are here to stay.

Why not encourage our budding scientists to research ways to get the plastics to disintegrate quickly and to detoxify their breakdown products, or better still, to find better plastics?

Amy Loh Chee Seen (Ms)