A disheartening blow was delivered by four Huntington Beach councilmen who voted against the polystyrene ban on Jan. 21.

It seems they had already made up their minds before the City Council meeting. Unfortunately, they would not be swayed by the public comments about the dangers of polystyrene pollution presented by passionate and knowledgeable speakers.

The council majority used the excuse that they were concerned about the effect on small restaurants. Evidently, they had not read the ordinance, which includes a hardship clause. Restaurants and vendors proving undue hardship could have been exempt from the ban, so they would not have been put out of business.

The doughnut shops represented at the meeting could be part of the solution instead of the problem. They could purchase some stainless steel commuter mugs and sell them to their customers at a small profit. Then they could offer a discount (equal to the cup cost) for reuse of the mug for refills. Many other shops are doing this already.

Kudos to Mayor Pro Tem Joe Shaw and Councilwomen Connie Boardman and Jill Hardy for representing their environmentally conscious cohorts.

In order to make the changes vital to protecting the health of our planet, it will be necessary to replace those politicians who prefer to have their tea parties with polystyrene cups.

Linda Newton

Fountain Valley

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Can't depend on community to recycle

I was sad to see that polystyrene can stay on the menu of our local restaurants.

Much benefit could have been achieved for very little cost to each individual. It would be terrific if each member of the community could be trusted to take responsibility to protect our environment. But unfortunately that is not the case.

Take a walk during trash day and peek into the trash cans of your neighbors. The amount of perfectly good recyclable waste in the trash bins is pretty amazing. And the recyclable bin is sitting right next to it.

We are in a drought now. On your walk, notice how much water is puddled in the gutter because people's sprinklers are watering the street and sidewalks. Lawns are being overwatered because of gushing broken, misdirected or too highly set sprinklers. A current campaign in Orange County is called Overwatering Is Out — http://www.overwateringisout.org.

I think the word needs to get out to a few more people. Maybe some will take on that personal responsibility.

Sandra Fazio

Huntington Beach *

Don't gripe about the loss of plastic

Let's not throw away a wise concept by repealing the plastic bag ban. The less plastic the better.

Why, however, are we paying 10 cents for any bag? If you don't have a bag, hold out your arms. Employees will cheerfully bring your cart to your car and put your stuff in it. Tip them — you're an American.