Ban plastic bags now

Shopper’s dress, pie!

Originally uploaded by mleak.

With London becoming the world’s largest plastic shopping bag free city [lg] isn’t it about time that Vancouver got serious about the issue? Vision Vancouver councillors are in favour of it [cbc], and it would be a quick way for Sam Sullivan to pick up some good karma points after putting us all through the hell of the civic strike. With most major super markets already selling fairly reasonable priced reusable bags, there’s really no excuse to not implement it. True it might be a financial burden on some lower income families, but it’s really only a one time purchase of around $1.99 per bag, so maybe $10 for a moderate sized family.

Now it might be more of a symbolistic move, as opposed to solving all of the enviromental issues of the city, but it would be a nice first step. It would also be nice to have it in place for 2010, to highlight Vancouver’s progressive stance on the enviroment. Or to start the city having one.

5 Comments so far

  1. lilz (unregistered) on November 24th, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

    i’m reposting my comments from the article because i was so appalled at what i found when i started reading up on the bag ban issue. I’d like other people to read up and make their own minds up as well…

    I’ve never thought of myself as much of a tree hugger but reading about the Bag Ban made me read up on what happens to most of these bags and plastics in general. Plastics either never get recycled and sit in a landfill for 1000 or more years OR get reycycled “ONCE” into a carpet or some other product, which then sits in a landfill for 1000 years. Basically, plastic does not degrade or go anywhere! Plastic grocery bags are the biggest culprit to target because they are so lightweight and often float loose into sewers. A lot end up in the ocean in the Great Pacific Garbage patch, a floating subterranean island of plastic garbage between Hawaii and California, and its twice the size of Texas and over 100 feet deep. Ridiculous. I used to feel good that I was an obsessive recycler but for plastics, it really doesn’t help. Unlike glass, metal and paper, it never breaks down. The last 50 years of plastic products are all still here with us polluting the planet. If I have to inconvenience myself and use cloth, I’ll give it a shot. Read up on it.

    The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
    North Pacific Gyre
    Eastern Garbage Patch
    Pacific Trash Vortex

    Responding to “What right does the city have to tell us what products we’re allowed to use? Are we children?” Well, yes. If it weren’t enforced, how many of us would change? I know the convenience is too easy to fall into. Now I’ve started carrying around my first bag and its working pretty well. Even if we reduce our bag consumption and not entirely limit it, thats a start. Mindsets and patterns have to change first to sustain a new habit. Big business needs to make alternatives available at the checkout to make a difference on a large scale.

  2. Jolly Bloger (unregistered) on November 26th, 2007 @ 10:29 am

    Hey, I’m the guy who asked “Are we children?” in that article. To clarify a bit, I agree with most of what you said. Plastic bags are awful, and yes, we shouldn’t use them. I think you are doing a good thing (I’m speaking to the above commenter) by choosing alternatives. If you ask me, then yeah, everyone should do the same thing and get a cloth bag. However, that doesn’t mean it’s ok to ban plastic bags.

    We have the luxury of living in a free society, but that freedom requires a certain level of understanding from the citizens. You can’t go around making things that are a bad idea illegal. If you start to limit the things we can say, do, and own, then you are chipping away at that freedom. The correct way to affect social change is through communication and education. Writing on the internet is a good way to change peoples’ minds and get them to choose ‘greener’ activities. Imploring the government to punish those who don’t make the choices you want them to is a terrible way to affect change. Are there any things you say/do/own that 51% of the population might not agree with? How would you feel if the police tried to stop you from saying/doing/owning those things?

  3. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on November 26th, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

    “We have the luxury of living in a free society,”

    Sort of, though no society is completely free but let’s see where this goes.

    “You can’t go around making things that are a bad idea illegal.”

    I believe in fact that’s what we’ve been doing since the dawn of time. Lists of bad things might include murder, punching people in the face, stealing things, nudity, rape, dumping toxic pollutants into the drinking water.

    A ban on plastic bags would most likely be focused at merchants, rather than consumers. If you want to use your own plastic bags that’s fine, but a store would not be allowed to give them out free to hold your purchases.

    If this sounds unfree then maybe consider the fact that all businesses have to abide by literally hundreds to thousands of rules, regulations and laws from zoning issues to how they pay and treat staff. To suggest a ban on plastic bags is any more awful than say zoning laws placed on signage on the highway, is to completely misundertand society.

  4. Jolly Bloger (unregistered) on November 27th, 2007 @ 10:35 pm

    Bans on violence and theft are morally justified to protect innocent people. Bans on essentially everything else are not. For the record, nudity is not banned, and public nudity restrictions are stupid. I’m suggesting that bans on plastic bags are exactly as awful as irrelevant zoning laws placed on signage on the highway. Enforcing ‘good behaviour’ is a ridiculous concept. Once it is enforced, it is not good behaviour, it is compliance through fear and antithetical to a free society.

  5. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on November 28th, 2007 @ 11:18 am

    “Once it is enforced, it is not good behaviour, it is compliance through fear and antithetical to a free society.”

    It’s useless to argue over whether or not a ban on plastic bags should take place in a mythical society where there are no rules and regulations that you don’t approve of. The world that we actually live in has a number of laws where businesses and individuals are required to meet certain standards, and thus a ban on plastic bags is not an attack on any freedom, any more than being required to have a health inspector around to check on a resturant is.

    If we lived in the world as you’d like it to be then this would be more of an issue. Since we don’t and never have I don’t see the point in arguing about it.

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