Is the Toronto plastic bag ban much ado about nothing? Where can we find a product that is more cost effective and recyclable? And do we really want to destroy all those trees?
Our neighbours to the south of us are wiser. They have instilled a program that not only protects the environment by keeping plastic out of landfills, but have also increased public awareness by providing bins in grocery stores to place their previously used plastic bags. These bags are then sold to the manufacturer who has them recycled into resin to make a new batch of plastic bags. What could be simpler?
We are all aware that using plastic for grocery shopping is far more convenient, particularly when we have an unexpected leak from one of the products we purchased. We also know that we can reuse the grocery bags for many uses such as bin liners. If we give the customer five cents for bringing every one of the used bags back rather than charging them to use it in the first place, we would be assured that almost all of the bags would be recycled.
Rather than focus on banning plastic bags, why don’t we provide a grant to researchers to find a cost effective way of disintegrating the plastic before it gets into the landfill? Those of us who are older and remember grocery shopping when our only alternative was the use of paper bags remember clearly wet and soggy bags, easily torn bags, and bags that were difficult to lift dread the thought of returning to paper bag usage for groceries.
In plastic bags, we have convenience, cost-effectiveness, and of course, our trees. Within our technologically advanced society, I am sure we can come up with solutions to have it all—convenience and a healthy environment.