Focus Shoppers: Do You Genuinely Want That Plastic Bag?

“The plastic bag is an acknowledged component of Canada’s shopping society, but it should not be. and every yr we use in excess of nine billion plastic purchasing bags in Canada. That’s 17,000 luggage a moment.”

– Greener Footprints

Canadians use nine-15 billion plastic purchasing luggage each yr

To get a feel for just how numerous bags that actually is, image this: if we tied 9 billion bags together, they would circle the earth fifty five times (Greener Footprints).

Holy Dinah!

Each and every 12 months it truly is believed between five hundred billion and 1 trillion plastic baggage are used throughout the world. Even though they weren’t commonly utilized right up until the nineteen eighties, their affect has presently been felt around the planet.

A rapid stroll via your neighbourhood can usually expose how pervasive plastic bags are when it will come to the issue of litter. Hanging from tree branches or tangled in hedges, plastic baggage have grow to be a depressing fixture in urban eco-friendly spaces like parks, schoolyards, and athletics fields. These kinds of litter is not only unpleasant it can also lead to significant environmental concerns.

Massive buildups of discarded plastic luggage can clog drainage techniques and lead to main floods. This kind of flooding induced popular destruction in Bangladesh in 1988 and 1998. Manila has also been vulnerable to flooding as a end result of plastic-bag clogged sewers. In 2009, more than 80% of the Philippines’ capital was submerged. Hundreds had been killed and hundreds a lot more were left homeless when total neighbourhoods had been swept absent.

Other aquatic chaos created by plastic luggage has proven lethal to people who live in the h2o as properly.

About a hundred,000 whales, seals, turtles and other maritime animals are killed every single year by plastic bags, which can strangle their victims or result in them to starve to dying, in accordance to Planet Ark, an worldwide environmental team. A useless grey whale that washed ashore in Seattle in 2010 was found to have more than 20 plastic baggage in its stomach.

A 2012 University of British Columbia examine identified that 93 per cent of beached northern fulmars (migratory seabirds associated to the albatross) experienced bellies full of plastic – a significant enhance from the last time they ended up analyzed, in 1980.

In truth, plastic packaging is accumulating so quickly, it is anticipated to outnumber fish in the sea by 2050, in accordance to a current report by the Globe Financial Discussion board.


According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “Couple of plastic baggage are recycled. Most are employed for a brief time to have groceries, and then perhaps re-utilized as garbage luggage or to wrap puppy poop before ending up in the landfill or the ocean. Some people argue that, because they make up about one particular for every cent of the quantity of squander in landfills, we shouldn’t be concerned. But a single for each cent of the enormous amounts of what is in landfills is a whole lot, specifically considering that plastic does not biodegrade.”

Most plastic luggage are manufactured from polyethylene and can get hundreds of years to decompose.

But measures are getting taken to decrease the environmental footprint of plastic bags. Use of plastic baggage is both restricted or entirely banned in in excess of a quarter of the world’s international locations.

China, Italy, Bangladesh, South Africa, and areas of Australia have banned plastic baggage outright, while municipal bans exist in components of India, Mexico, Britain, the U.S., and Canada.

Plastaxes – taxes on plastic baggage paid out by shoppers – and new recycling regulations have also been brought in to assist tackle the situation.

In February 2016, Walmart Canada commenced phasing out 1-use purchasing luggage at Canadian Walmart merchants. In location of these, buyers will be presented discounted reusable bags for 25 cents. But plastic bags will even now be offered for 5 cents in an work to lessen the amount of solitary-use baggage they distribute.

In my neck of the woods (Sidney, British Columbia), the grocery retailer I repeated isn’t going to have plastic grocery luggage but they do offer one-use brown paper baggage – or, of course, you can use reusable grocery baggage or a reusable cardboard box, specifically created to hold the bodyweight of groceries. My personalized preference is a box and numerous reusable luggage.

Despite the fact that my community is supposedly really environmentally-friendly, I would have to say that, based mostly on my personalized observations, the majority of the grocery retailer consumers even now select the solitary-use brown paper bag above the reusable bag and/or box. And I’m not sure why. Comfort, probably?

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