Canadians use between nine and 15 billion plastic bags a year, enough to circle the Earth more than 55 times, according to Greener Footprints. (U.S. citizens use about 100 billion a year!) Few plastic bags are recycled. Plastic bags are bad and for the most part unnecessary. Many of us older folks remember a time, only a few decades ago, when we didn't have them. Sure, they're convenient, but is that an excuse to damage the environment and the life it supports?
These bans are a positive and necessary step and they do raise awareness, but the overuse of plastic is just a symbol of a larger issue. We use disposable things without thinking about the consequences. Maybe one reason we resist the idea of banning plastic bags is because somehow we know it's just the tip of the iceberg.
Gossip about the political future of acting Liberal boss Bob Rae seems to appeal to precisely two sorts of people: the gossips themselves -- who were in full force this weekend -- and Bob Rae. Meanwhile, Toronto City Council's Wednesday night decision to ban plastic bags from Hogtown supermarkets will provoke some manner of "national discussion" on the issue.