#326 Loving the planet starts with one plastic bag

day 217: you old bag

This photo by cuttlefish is a good metaphor for the problem of plastic bags, via Flickr Creative Commons

Darned public anyway! The nerve of Toronto taxpayers, asking questions about a silly little issue like plastic bags. After all, they are convenient and, really, they make up such a tiny percentage of municipal garbage. Watch out, all you councillors who voted to ban the bags. You lefties will lose in the next election.

That is the gist of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s dismayed reaction to a vote in council. It all started with such a simple idea. He wanted to turf the five-cent fee imposed on plastic bags. So he brought the issue to a vote.

He was stunned when council voted 24-20 to ban bags completely, starting in 2013. Worse yet, the motion that was voted in was proposed by a member of the mayor’s own executive committee. Councillor David Shiner told CBC why he made the bold move, though he supported abolition of the bag fee:

“But the bigger issue is what’s happening with 250 million bags that still end up in our landfill every year. Because people think, ‘Oh, I take it, I reuse it, and something will happen to it.’ But that plastic never breaks down and it stays plastic forever.”

It’s true the motion was not carefully crafted nor vetted through a committee. It appears to have been a spur-of-the-moment action. And it cannot be repealed without a two-thirds vote against it.

What gives me hope is that a councillor in a major Canadian city made a sudden statement about caring for the environment, and a majority of his colleagues backed him.

Yes, it is one small step, and we need a lot of giant ones. Still, you know the old saying about a journey of a thousand miles. In Toronto 24 councillors have made that step.


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naomi Baltuck - June 10, 2012

I was so proud of Edmonds for voting to ban plastic bags!

    admin - June 10, 2012

    Kelowna isn’t there yet, though the number of people carrying reusable bags or opting for no bags with small purchases makes it clear the people are ahead of the local government.

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