It was crisp and gloriously bright day in early January in Vancouver — the perfect conditions for outdoor chores like taking down Christmas lights. Or, in my case, it also meant grabbing tongs and a pail to scour my block for coffee cups, bus tickets, plastic packaging, as well as used condoms and discarded bags of dog feces.
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?
You may think that people should be collectively responsible for paying for the waste they cumulatively generate. Or you may feel that, like residents without children who oppose paying for schools, it should be a personal responsibility. Either way, Ontario appears to be behind in having these discussions.