Bangor Daily News, Letters to the Editor Credit: George Danby / BDN

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Be bold to address waste problems

The headline of a recent BDN column by Christine Cummings from the Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association said that recycling changes proposed by LD 1541 “could” raise grocery prices. On behalf of the Maine Unitarian-Universalist State Advocacy Network, I urge us to take a closer look.

Cummings cites a study from York University that compared Canadian and New York State data and projected an increase in the cost of consumer goods of 4% to 6.35%. According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, however, much of the data for this study was supplied by the Consumer Brands Association — an opponent of recycling reform. Other data are based on waste audits for only nine New York samples. Costs have also been wildly inflated.

Since China decided to stop accepting our recycling in 2017, our towns have struggled to dispose of what we bring to our transfer stations. LD 1541 creates an Extended Producer Responsibility system already used in many countries that rewards producers for reducing the weight and increasing the recyclability of their packaging. Markets for recyclables would be increased and funds collected would reimburse our towns for their costs.

Let’s be bold and dare to address the problems created by our waste and not be held back by unfounded threats.

Corliss C. Davis

Belfast

A reason to smile

All my life people have always said that I have a beautiful smile. When I started to smile less, people would ask “why?”

I’m living with several broken and missing teeth. I can’t afford to get the treatment I need and can’t afford dental insurance. As a result, my teeth have become brittle, weak, and infected. I’m constantly in unbearable pain. It causes me to cry.

I have several medical problems that affect my teeth. I have kidney disease and I often get sick and put on antibiotics, which negatively affects my teeth and gums. This doesn’t just affect my physical health. It also affects my mental health. It makes it hard for me to get well and stay well.

I am very involved in my community. I am a dedicated advocate. I’m a recovery coach, a loving mother, and friend to many. I could be doing so much more if I wasn’t struggling so much with my physical health, mental health, and especially with my dental health. Having better access to dental insurance will not only help me fix my smile, it will help with my other medical problems. I will be able to build my self-esteem and self-worth. I’ll also be able to do more good things in my life, which is what I live for.

I am asking the legislature to support LD 996. It would not only change my life but the lives of a lot of adults that struggle just like me here in Maine.

Cheyenna Baldwin

Auburn

Make the Senate function

That the current abuse/overuse of the Senate filibuster has resulted in a clogged system in which almost no legislation can be accomplished is no secret. Obviously, its purpose no longer serves. This needs to change.

Not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the filibuster is a practice that was adopted into the rules of the Senate in the 1800s. Its employment in stalling legislation has been a source of frustration to legislators all along. However, the frequency of its being invoked for that purpose has increased unreasonably in the last few decades, spiking in recent years. Its original purpose, to ensure there would be adequate opportunity for hearing both sides of an issue, has been so convoluted as to prevent there even being any debate whatsoever on crucial topics. This makes no sense in a time when the nation is in dire need of coordinated effort to steer us forward.

The American people deserve a government that functions. Our Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King owe it to us to work together with their colleagues to either reform or abolish this arcane Senate rule, whichever it takes to enable Congress to function as it was intended by the framers of the Constitution.

Laura Lander

Harpswell