Re: “Don’t want to contaminate your recycling? Here’s how to do it correctly in King County” [Nov. 18, Environment]:

We cannot recycle our way out of our plastic-waste problem. It’s time we shift the responsibility to the companies that profit from selling us plastic.

The plastic manufacturing industry has known for decades that only a fraction of its product ends up getting recycled. But it has spent millions to convince us that recycling is enough to address our waste crisis — so it could turn around and make billions selling new plastic.

To make matters worse, the plastic that does get recycled breaks down in the process — material that is recycled once is typically never recycled again. It all ends up as trash in the end. Virtually every piece of plastic ever made is still out there clogging landfills, littering streets and polluting waterways.

The companies that manufacture and sell us plastic pass the cleanup costs and blame onto individuals and communities. Earlier this year, Maine and Oregon passed the nation’s first statewide producer responsibility laws to tackle plastic waste. We need our state leaders to make Washington next and pass a producer responsibility bill to make sure that the companies responsible for selling us plastic are also responsible for cleaning up their mess.

Nicole Walter, Seattle, advocate, WashPIRG