Plastic bags are the worst. Beyond convenience, there’s really not a single advantage to keeping them around.
Yet whenever their existence is threatened, the masses lash out.
This is exactly what’s happening right now in Montreal, as Mayor Denis Coderre mulls over a potential plastic bag ban that seems to be generating more opposition than support. The ban will be the first in any major Canadian city – sorry Fort Mac, you’re not major yet – after Toronto reversed its decision to follow through with similar legislation in 2012.
“We have to think global but act local and this is one of those issues where we have to take a look at the impact on our planet,” Coderre said about his position on the issue. He’s currently awaiting feedback from public consultations on the situation and will make a more concrete decision one he has a better understanding of the pros and cons.
As expected, the con side is airing a much louder voice.
“We think a ban is probably the worst way to solve environmental problems,” said Canadian Plastics Industry Association sustainable development consultant Pierre Dubois, who believes consumers will create a larger carbon footprint by using paper bags when they forget their cloth alternative. “Exchanging one type of material for another is not necessarily a panacea.”
An advocate of eduction on recycling and reusing, his point is backed by numbers: According to the National Post, statistics suggest about 59 per cent of Quebecers reuse shopping bags at least once or twice and that more than one-third recycle them. About seven per cent are guilty of putting them in the trash.
Quebecers currently use roughly a billion bags a year, which is a staggering number if you don’t consider that this number was more than double a decade ago.
This should be fun to follow.