Plastic Bag Ban

Amie - posted on 10/24/2010 ( 56 moms have responded )

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An Ontario MP will introduce a private member's bill Monday that will seek to ban plastic shopping bags across the country.

London-Fanshawe New Democrat Irene Mathyssen said many Canadians have already switched to reusable bags or leftover shipping boxes made from recyclable cardboard.

"I can remember a time when there weren't plastic bags and we managed very well," she said, then described a recent trip to Europe where she saw people using portable shopping carts instead of plastic bags.

"It works for them, and I think it could work for us too, because we've become addicted to plastic, or our society has, but it hasn't always been there," she said.

San Francisco and the Manitoba community of Leaf Rapids trashed the plastic bag three years ago. Parts of India banned the manufacture, sale and use of all plastic bags, saying they choke drainage systems during monsoon season.

Toronto has imposed a five-cent charge per bag, and many clothing stores have since cut out the plastic in favour of paper bags.

Mathyssen's bill stems from the winning entry of a contest that asked high school students how they would improve Canada.

Hannah DeBoer and Miranda Van Rooyen, both grade 11 students in London, Ont., submitted the entry, calling for an end to plastic bag use.

Mathyssen said a committee chose their idea because they did a large amount of research.

They wrote that plastic bags are made of non-renewable petroleum, and end up in landfills or oceans where they can kill animals, she said.

"They had fulfilled their obligations, and this was my obligation to table what was decided in terms of the best bill that had come forward and to show that I do take [the teens] seriously," said Mathyssen.

Allen Langdon of the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors said an outright ban isn't the best approach to reducing plastic bag use. He suggests retailer incentives like loyalty points or rebates are a better way of encouraging shoppers to make the switch.

"I think the options are out there and I think retailers are doing their best to educate consumers, and I think over time that's going to have a positive effect," he said.

He said plastic bags don't make up a large amount of the trash in landfills, and many are often reused for garbage or pet waste.

He said the council currently has agreements with British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario to reduce plastic bag use by 50 per cent.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/10/2...
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So what do you ladies think? I don't see the big issue with it. Our local co-op grocery stores already offer 3 cents off for each reusable bag you use. There's a few stores that charge 5 cents for each bag you need.

So long as something is still offered, paper bags or boxes. I know I forget my cloth bags a lot, even when they're in the van. I generally remember when we're in check out too. Ugh.

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Johnny - posted on 10/25/2010

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Hasn't anyone heard of re-usable veggie bags? I've got these fine mesh ones, about the size of a plastic veggie baggie. I use them for beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli, or anything else that's in multiples or needs a bag. Obviously, no good for leaking meat, but it means I use one plastic baggie when shopping instead of 5 or 6. Mine cost $8 for 5 and I've had them for a couple years. I just throw them in the wash with my dish towels every week. These aren't the same as mine (mine are finer mesh) but the same idea:

http://www.sackaroosreusablebags.com/pag...

I find I end up with enough plastic bags from other shopping like at the mall to cover my cat litter needs.

Krista - posted on 10/25/2010

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@Dana, great idea re-using the produce bags for diapers. Just as an FYI, Superstore (Loblaw's) has great insulated zip-up bags, and you can fit a LOT in those puppies! I love it, because if I pick up groceries prior to my 45-minute commute home, then stuff is still cold.

@Amie: I've seen the little plastic meat bags sometimes at Superstore, but sometimes they're only up at the cash at other places. I wish they'd keep them in the meat section all the time, because I don't like having a bloody meat pack sitting in my cart.

[deleted account]

The plastic produce bags that I do use, I end up reusing. I put them in my diaper bag and use them to wrap dirty diapers before I throw them in a public garbage. Then I don't feel like they're a total waste.

Amie - posted on 10/25/2010

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You could always make your own Sara. Sewing a bag together isn't all that hard.


Something else you could do too if you'd rather buy them. Pick up one or two during each shopping trip, in a few weeks/months time you have enough and no longer need the plastic bags.

I paid 99 cents for each of ours. I accumulated them over time. For the amount they sell though, I do think the price should be cheaper. I also don't know what the price difference is though to produce those bags vs. plastic ones.

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[deleted account]

I sounds good to me. I already re-use my plastic bags, much to the annoyance of some shop workers.

Desiree - posted on 10/27/2010

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I live in South Africa and we pay for them. We then reuse them on all kinds or things. You would be surprised what you can make from plastic bags. The Africans make floor mats, shoes, table mats and thats just to start. Many of us use the reusable bags.

[deleted account]

Ummm, Carol - so cool! I've never seen them before. You'd think they would have a lil' stand set up in the produce section to sell them. I'ma ask the produce manager at our local grocery store. Last week she gave me 4 avacados for free. We're on a first name basis and I'm not sure why but I love her.



Thanks Carol

LaCi - posted on 10/26/2010

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I have a fuckton of reusable bags. It's the only responsible way to shop ;D

That being said, I always preferred paper over plastic, and the anti-plastic craze has brought paper bags back at my local grocery stores. For years they've only offered plastic, We started getting reusable bags partially for the environment but partially because plastic bags suck, rip, and don't hold much. Hate plastic bags.

Jenn - posted on 10/26/2010

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I've never seen those - I might have to look for something like that though - thanks Carol! :)

Jane - posted on 10/25/2010

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Would work for me if I lived in Canada...wish they'd get rid of them here in the US. I use my reusables as often as I can remember (LOL)! BUT, if they did away with the plastic, I'd probably remember more often.

Becky - posted on 10/25/2010

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I don't really have an issue with it, although it would be a bit annoying until I got used to it, seeing as how I have a whole bunch of reusable shopping bags, but never remember to bring them when I go shopping!
I think though, if they're going to ban plastic bags, they should make the reusable bags free for a short period of time, maybe a week or a month, so everyone can stock up on them. Then, if you forget to bring yours after that, you pay for them, like you do now.

Rosie - posted on 10/25/2010

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i think it would help me remember to use my reusable bags more often, something i'd like to do anyway. but i do like them for bathroom garbage bags, adn others are right about meat. i don't like having meat drippings everywhere.
i think what would work better would be to maybe charge people per plastic bag, like aldi's does. i always remember to brings bags when i go there.

[deleted account]

I think an out right ban is silly. I do use reusable bags but I like to keep a supply of plastic bags on hand as well. I use them when I change the kitty litter or to line the garbage cans in the bathroom/bedrooms. I know a lot of people who reuse them this way. If they ban them then I'll have to buy boxed ones (which are still made the same way and cost a lot more) and are still going to end up in landfills.

BTW plastic shopping bags account for less than 1% of the garbage found in landfills. This little fact came to light when they first got rid of them in Toronto but for some reason everyone decided to ignore it.

Jenn - posted on 10/25/2010

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I've never seen plastic bags in the meat section in any grocery store in Simcoe.

[deleted account]

Here in the UK everyone is supplied with bins to recycle their hosuehold recycables. We have a blue wheelie bin in which paper, card, cans and plastic can be recycled, and also a green wheelie bin for garden waste such as twigs, grass cutting etc.

Earlier this year I'm sure Asda threatened stopping giving out plastic carrier bags but they seem to have gone back on that idea. Tesco offers extra clubcard points for using a resusable bag. I have no problem with them not providing plastic bags but I do find you never remember to take resuasable bags when you need them!

[deleted account]

So true Krista, sadly. The only places I know of that have recycle bins out for customer use are the grocery stores. Most of them have these big bins at the entrance for plastic, paper, glass, plastic bags. But if you're at the mall or whatever, everything just goes in one can and I highly doubt anyone seperates it later.

Krista - posted on 10/25/2010

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I think as a general rule, Canada IS a bit ahead of the U.S. when it comes to things like this. When my husband and I were in NYC, I don't think I saw a recycling or compost bin anywhere -- everything went in the garbage. It was sad. And think about how many people live there -- if even 1% of Manhattanites recycled, it would make a big dent.

Amie - posted on 10/25/2010

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Oh ok Joy. They do that at one grocery store here, but at the check out and that's because of the retards bagging my groceries! Meat does not go in the same bag as produce, meat goes in it's own bag. That way if it does leak (which is rare, must be the way they package it) it's all in the same bag anyway.

Well I also buy huge bulk/family packs of everything. So having it's own bag just works better.

[deleted account]

And about the plastic bags for meat? It's been a long time since I've been in a grocery store that didn't have a roll of clear plastic bags for each section of meat (pork, poultry, beef, etc). I know when I get a pack of ground beef, it goes in a bag so it doesn't leak all over my other groceries. Same with chicken. Especially chicken. Also, in the produce section, most stores make us bag our own items. If I'm just buying one green pepper I'll just lay it in the top part of the cart (where the kid seat is). But if I'm getting more than one of something (which I usually am) I always get a bag.

[deleted account]

I'm guilty of the plastic bag thing. So far here in the States, you go shopping and they don't even ask if you want plastic. Most of us just grab our plastic bags and go. I do reuse my plastic bags for things like garbage bags in the car, garbage bags in the small bathroom cans, to put really nasty, stinky diapers in, or to hold our cans and bottles we take back for deposit. I know I need to buy some of the reusable cloth bags but I just always forget to be honest. Ultimately, I'd be ok with a plastic bag ban. Then I would have no choice but to buy the reusable ones. I saw a thing on tv awhile back about this spot in the Pacific ocean that's just a giant swirling trash heap. I think it's called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Makes me sick to think about it and what it's doing to the planet. Ok, next time I'm at the grocery I'm buying a few of those reusable bags.

Amie - posted on 10/25/2010

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Something else that's come to mind. How many people see plastic bags flying around the streets?

I know I see them here and there, the city is fairly on top of keeping things clean but it does happen. I saw one the other day fly out of a truck window as I was passing him. No idea why anyone would have an empty bag in their vehicle though.

[deleted account]

I think they should get rid of plastic bags, period. If there weren't a choice (even with a discount), people would be more careful not to forget their reusable cloth bag or cardboard box or crate or whatever. Many people reuse the plastic bags but too many let throw them away and they end up in our water and somewhere out in nature, damaging it. Good for that MP (wish it was mine! Surrey, BC)

Lindsay - posted on 10/25/2010

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I'll have to check at Walmart...I avoid that store like the plague but it may be worth it! lol

Amie - posted on 10/25/2010

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Carol,
"The only good use for little plastic bags is meat that isn't properly sealed."
Not true! I use them when I make buns, bread, etc. I just knot the tops closed.

Krista,
"just keep the plastic baggies in the meat section."
You have plastic baggies in the meat section? Is it for anything other than bulk wieners? That's all I've ever seen them for.

[deleted account]

3-5$ per bag? That's crazy. Our local grocery store has strong durable cloth bags with standing support inside and they're only 99 cents AND you get discounts for each bag you use. I can't believe they're so expensive. Walmart has decent bags, Lindsay - do you know how much they sell for at a Walmart where you live? They're under 2$ here in Canada.

Kimberly - posted on 10/25/2010

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Aside from using plastic bags for meat only, I have been using reusable/cloth bags for a couple of years now. No biggie here.

Lindsay - posted on 10/25/2010

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Our groceries have started selling the reusable bags within the last year. They sell for $3-5 per bag. I have a couple of bags but I forget to bring them more than I use them. I would have no problem with doing away with the plastic bags though. I will just have to do some stocking up on the reusable bags before then. I'd hate to walk in the store one day and have to spend an extra $25 on groceries for the bags to tote them.

[deleted account]

Okay, honest question. And this can apply to clothe diapers as well...something I'm considering.

How does the energy used to make plastic bags compare with the energy and water used to wash re-usable bags (diapers)?

[deleted account]

Where did you get them? Costco has a wonderful HUGE reusable refrigerated bag. I have one from Walmart but the top just folds in and velcros together....it's not that great. The Costco ones are massive and they zipper up to truly seal the refrigeration.

Sharon - posted on 10/25/2010

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hahaha Dana - people are jealous of my freezer bags. They're HUGE, super well insulated, they'll hold 4 gls. of milk. LMAO which is cool, when the bag is sitting in the back of the truck, lifting it is a whole different question!!

[deleted account]

I am all for the plastic bag ban. We carry our reusable bags everywhere. They are more resistant than the plastic crap, can easily be washed as well. I also find that they sit better when we load up the car. I freakin HATE wasting food because the plastic bag ripped and my eggs ended up on the pavement. I solved the problem with the reusable bags. I don't generally buy the bags in the grocery store as I find that they are of cheap make and don't last as long. I don't sew so I buy.

[deleted account]

My favorite reusable bag is my Lululemon bag. It's huge and strong and I love it! Most places (clothing stores, retail shopping etc.) usually give them away free with a purchase.

Sharon - posted on 10/25/2010

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I don't think a ban is necessary. I have reusable bags in my truck. I frequently forget them or the kids forget to put them away after a shopping trip. A ban on plastic shopping bags altogether would be difficult in that situation.

Cost of the reusuable bags - I bought $5 at a time. I have some of the cutest ones. Red eyed green tree frogs, pandas, elephants, polar bears, etc. I've seen a breast cancer awareness bag at our Frys'(krogers) that is pink with a cherry blossom branch extended across it. Its so very asian - I really like it. I think I"ll get a couple.

[deleted account]

I haven't read the other responses but I ENCOURAGE and fully support the ban. I've been shopping with reusable bags for several years now. LOVE THEM!

Jenn - posted on 10/25/2010

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Yes, veggie bags would still be needed - how else would you get some green beans, or brussels sprouts? And mushrooms should be in a paper bag anyway ;)

Dana - posted on 10/25/2010

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I can do without the veggie bags, not the meat bags. We don't pay anything per plastic bag.

Krista - posted on 10/25/2010

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I would have no problem whatsoever with them getting rid of plastic bags, as long as they at least offered paper as an alternative for when you forget your bags, as I sometimes do.

I do think they should keep the little plastic veggie bags, though. Not for all veggies (I agree with Carol -- it's silly to put ONE squash in a little plastic bag), but if you're buying things like loose mushrooms or bulk snow peas, you kind of do need something to put them in. But even then, they could provide little paper bags for that, and just keep the plastic baggies in the meat section.

Jenn - posted on 10/25/2010

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Pretty much all of the stores around here charge 5 cents for bag if you need one - except WalMart and Dollarama I think. I always take my reusable bags with me and I can remember even as a kid if I bought something and didn't NEED a bag I would just carry what I bought in my hand or toss it in my bag or purse. Oh, and just to note - I have about 15 reusable bags and have not purchased one of them! I got them free for different reasons - 1 when I signed up for the Club Sobeys points, 1 from the bridal show I went to with my Mum, 1 for being a volunteer years ago for the Income Tax Program, 2 were used as gift bags last year at Christmas (they put my gift in a shopping bag instead of "real" gift bag), etc., etc. I think the only 1 I ever bought was when I was in Amsterdam and it is covered in bicycles and says "You can only get this bag in Amsterdam".

Johnny - posted on 10/25/2010

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I'd support nothing less than a 25 cent surcharge per bag. When I forget my re-usable bags, I suck it up and either cart my groceries in my arms or buy the bags. Plastic needs to be discouraged as much as possible. I make sure I've always got re-usables in the car & in the stroller. That way it rarely happens. What I'd really like to see is them enforcing the use of re-usable vegetable bags. It's really silly to have a re-usable shopping bag full of little plastic veggie bags. The only good use for little plastic bags is meat that isn't properly sealed.

Isobel - posted on 10/25/2010

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it's already against the law to give them away...we have to pay 5 cents per bag...no big to me, except that I've got tons of reusable bags that I forget to take with me and they just get dusty at the bottom of my closet.

Dana - posted on 10/25/2010

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We have the big bins at my grocery store too. I collect them all and take them in every month or so.

[deleted account]

Yes, we have a big recycling bin at my grocery store for the plastic bags. I collect all my excess bags and bring them to recycle about once a month or so. As far as I know, there is no incentive to use clothe around here. Maybe I'll seek out the grocery store manager and ask. I know this is a pathetic excuse, but it really is not that common and I don't know anyone that uses them. Like I said, I've only seen ONE person EVER with clothe bags at the grocery store. I WANT to go with the re-usables, I just need to do it! And yes, they should just ban them altogether and we'll somehow manage to live just fine.

Katherine - posted on 10/25/2010

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Here you get 5 cents for every cloth bag you use. I have collected about 20 of them. I think it's a great idea to slowly phase out plastic, but I reuse them anyways. I line my trashcans, use them for diapers, garbage in my car etc... At my local grocery store they also have a huge recycling bin for plastic bags. So unless you seriously don't care, there ARE many many options here.

Dana - posted on 10/25/2010

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Sara, I did the same thing that Amie suggested and Mary has done, I bought a few at a time when I went shopping. An extra $3 at the check out isn't much at all when you go that route. I LOVE the insulated ones too, I use those all the time. They're great in the summer time and I don't have to worry about rushing right back home with my cold items.

Tracey - posted on 10/25/2010

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If a shop wants my custom they can give me free bags to put their goods in, don't care if they are plastic / long lasting or whatever but I object to paying for something that used to be free.

Dana - posted on 10/25/2010

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I see nothing wrong with it. I use the reusable bags but, I don't mind getting some plastic ones sometimes since I do use them for my bathroom garbage can. I do agree that we (as a people in general) will continue to keep using them as long as they're there, take them away I think we'll still manage to live...shocking, huh.

Bonnie - posted on 10/25/2010

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We often shop at Walmart and they still have their plastic bags for free, so when we get them there, we usually reuse the ones that are not torn at other places.

Mary - posted on 10/25/2010

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Sara, I did what Amie suggested; I bought them one at a time, each time I went to the store, until I had enough. For me, I usually only need 3 or 4 per trip; since they are both bigger and stronger, each bag holds more than the plastic bags. I have two that are the insulated kind for cold stuff; they were a dollar more, but totally worth it. I can fit 2 gallon jugs of milk in one, plus other smaller items like cheese, butter or bags of veggies in around them. (I shop in a store with a self scanner, so I bag my own groceries as I shop - LOVE it!). They do eventually pay for themselves, since they take 5 cents off for each bag you use. It took me a little bit to get used to it, and remembering to bring them with me, but I now couldn't imagine ever going back to plastic.

C. - posted on 10/25/2010

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I don't have a problem with it. So far, I've yet to see any store that doesn't offer reusable bags for a dollar or less that you can use after they are rung up, even with the same order in which they were purchased. They even offer them at our Commissary and BX/PX and they're about 97¢ per bag, I think. I honestly LOVE the idea, though. When I was a cashier/office feast in the grocery store I used to work at, I loved putting the groceries in the customer's reusable shopping bags. It was a little easier AND bags didn't rip.. And we didn't have to order as many plastic bags. I wish some places would stop beating around the bush and just ban them already, though.



*EDITED TO ADD* I forgot, though.. Sometimes when I had reusable bags (I keep forgetting to buy more b/c I'm usually in a rush), I would forget to take them. So sometimes plastic bags come in handy.. But then again.. I guess if there was an official ban on them, I would remember to take them every shopping trip..

Jodi - posted on 10/25/2010

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I can understand that though Sara. But I think a lot of people aren't deterred. I don't think charging such a small amount for plastic bags is going to have the overall desired impact.



I do think that in conjunction with banning plastic bags, government should be making sure reusable bags are affordable for everyone. I am sure there are ways they could be made available cheaper to the public while still covering costs.



Also, there are actually plastic bags available that are biodegradeable.

Jodi - posted on 10/25/2010

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I have a HUGE bage full of reusable bags here, and I have enough to take with me on my weekly shop. I hardly ever need plastic bags :) I usually keep a couple in my car *just in case*, but sometimes forget to put them back in if I use them.

It IS an uphill battle to get my hubby to use them. I need to get some more masculine looking ones and then he might be ok with it. But quite honestly, he isn't so good at planning ahead and taking one with him (is any man?)

I still remember the days when we had the large paper shopping bags......

But I do agree with you Amie, that there needs to be something still offered, because there will always be those who forget their bags occasionally, no matter how diligent they are at using them.

There are a number of stores here now who charge for plastic bags, but I don't think the 5c is a big deterrent for most people to be honest.

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