Washington Post Article
Paper Bags Article – http://life.gaiam.com/article/plastic-bags-get-boot-paper-any-better
Wikipedia Lightweight Plastic Bag Article –
All about bags article http://www.allaboutbags.ca/irelandandlitter.html
National Post Poll page – http://news.nationalpost.com/news/more-than-half-of-canadians-think-banning-sale-of-plastic-bags-a-good-idea-poll
Lifecycle Assessment Bag Comparison Chart
Canadians use between nine- and 15-billion plastic bags a year, enough to circle the Earth more than 55 times. These lightweight plastic bags can have negative effects on cities, animals and ecosystems. But finding the best solution may not be as simple as it appears.
Lightweight Plastic (LDPE)
Cheapest to manufacture
Easy to re-use for kitchen or pet waste
Easy to Recycle (Downcycle)
Made with non-renewable resource (oil)
Improper disposal can have major environmental effects
Made with renewable resources
Contributes to deforestation
Requires more water & energy to manufacture
Has a greater emissions footprint
Can replace hundreds of single use bags
Can be recyclable (#5 PP) or biodegradable (cotton & canvas)
Need to be cleaned regularly
Easy to forget!
The HOT issues
Resources: Plastic and many reusable bags are made from non-renewable oil, (an estimated 12 million barrels in North America alone) using processes that require toxic chemicals. On the other hand, some 14 million trees are cut down each year to make paper bags* and the manufacture of pulp uses large amounts of water and energy.
Pollution: Though they are recyclable, most plastic bags end up in the landfill or the environment, where they can clog waterways and sewers, and kill animals that ingest them. Plastic bags break down, but they never biodegrade. As a result, any toxins they contain—including flame retardants, antimicrobials, and plasticizers—will be released into the environment.
Recycling: Paper, plastic and reusable bags can all be recycled or downcycled, but recycling rates remain low.
Cleanliness: Single-use bags can provide a more sanitary carrier for items like meats and vegetables. Reusable bags need to be properly cleaned regularly to avoid unwanted microbial build-up.
Security and Privacy: Some shops in areas with plastic bag bans report increased shoplifting when customers use reusable bags or just carry items around. Single-use bags also allow services like pharmacies to offer more privacy to their customers for their purchases.
BAN the bag?
Lightweight Plastic Bag Bans are one solution that is being implemented in numerous cities and countries around the globe. Here is a partial list:***
Bangladesh – Country-wide ban, 2002
Eritrea – Country-wide ban, 2007
Kenya – Country-wide ban, 2011
Mauritania – Country-wide ban, 2013
Tanzania – Country-wide ban, 2006
China – Total ban on ultra thin plastic bags and a fee on plastic bags, 2008
Netherlands – Comprehensive Ban 2016
Australia – Three states and some cities have bans
Italy – Ban on lightweight bags that are not biodegradable
California – Local bans in 31 cities and 11 counties including San Francisco and Los Angeles
15 Other US states, including Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Washington and Texas, have various levels of city and county bans
Can a fee backfire?
Many people use single-use plastic bags for multiple uses, such as lunch bags, kitchen catchers, and picking up after dogs. When Ireland implemented their tax, sales of thicker kitchen catcher bags increased +77%****
What do YOU think?
Canadian public opinion varies.
It’s a good idea to forbid retail stores from handing out single use plastic bags:
YES – 59% NO – 39%
Stores should charge a fee for plastic bags
YES – 53% NO – 46%
Angus Reid Poll 2012*****
What’s London Drugs doing?
London Drugs has debated, researched and talked about the use of plastic bags over the years and we continue to regularly discuss the use of plastic bags in our stores. in the meantime, we offer reusable bags and easy plastic bag recycling.
Would you like a bag with that?
We are currently in the process of implementing a process in our stores where our staff ask if customers would like a bag instead of automatically using a plastic bag, and at the same time suggesting a reusable option.
What about biodegradable plastic?
London Drugs has used and experimented with degradable bags or compostable bags and have found these to contaminate the recycling stream and create bigger problems for the environment.
We have made a commitment to reduce the number of bags being given out and have seen a 50% decline from previous years. We are always on the lookout for better options and we always take into consideration the impact of our decisions.