Wow! The response to my post asking if GP should ban single use shopping bags has been pretty impressive. I have two prior posts on the subject, the first one is here and this is the second one that was posted last week. This is probably the issue that I have received the most comments on the whole time I've been running the blog. As of today there are 20 comments on the post and 61 votes have been cast in the poll.
There have been some really good comments that have raised great points:
One that I hadn't considered was security. "How does a store know that the person walking out with a bag full of goods went through the till if they don't have a store bag?" Good one, I'm sure there are answers to that but it would need to be considered, or at least recognized.
Another was on people from out of town. "What about people who are new to the city or tourists or out of town shoppers? They won't know to come with their own bag." I don't know - what about these kinds of people? I would guess they just have to buck up the extra loonie for a bag they can reuse when they get home.
Just to clarify two things for everyone;
1. I know that web polls like this aren't scientific and 61 votes is probably not a large enough sample to be an accurate representation of the whole city.
2. I wasn't posing this as a moving to paper instead of plastic. What we are talking about is getting rid of the single use plastic bags. Other options would be up to stores and the public. ( Already many stores are selling re-useable bags, for a small price )
In the first post I mentioned that Leaf Rapids, Manitoba was going ahead with this. I've visited their site and below you'll find their bylaw.
I'm really enjoying the discussion, keep it going. Have a read of the bylaw and think about if something like this could work in GP. Let me know what you think!
BOLD NEW ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVE
On April 2, 2007, Leaf Rapids became the first municipality in North America to introduce By-Law legislation banning single-use plastic shopping bags. After April 2nd, cloth shopping bags will be the order of the day. Retailers who contravene the By-Law by giving away or selling single-use plastic shopping bags could be liable to a fine of up to $1000.00.
In order to assist other municipalities that might want to introduce similar legislation, Leaf Rapids is providing the wording to By-Law # 462. The By-Law was passed at 12:01 AM on March 22, 2007.
TOWN OF LEAF RAPIDS
By-Law No. 462
Being a By-Law of the Town of Leaf Rapids for the establishment of Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags.
WHEREAS Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags are a very visible component of litter throughout the Town of Leaf Rapids, lake side, trails, roadside and the nuisance grounds;
AND WHEREAS Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags have a negative impact on our wildlife habitat and are not environmentally friendly;
AND WHEREAS the Town of Leaf Rapids incurs a significant cost to clean up the Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags each year;
AND WHEREAS local businesses can reduce merchandise cost by not having to purchase Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags;
AND WHEREAS the Town of Leaf Rapids has provided education to shoppers and school children about the environmental advantages and reduced cost of using reusable shopping bags;
AND WHEREAS by using a multi-use shopping bag, residents are reminded of the positive impact of recycling;
NOW THEREFORE upon passing this By-Law, the Council of the Town of Leaf Rapids, enacts as follows:
1. THAT the Town of Leaf Rapids will be Single Use Plastic Shopping Bag free effective April 2, 2007.
2. THAT retailers in the Town of Leaf Rapids will not be permitted to give away or sell plastic shopping bags that are intended for single use.
3. THAT a person who contravenes this By-Law of the Town of Leaf Rapids is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction of a fine of not more than $1000.00.
4. THAT where a contravention continues for more than one day, the person is guilty of a separate offence for each day it continues.
5. THAT on passing of this By-Law, By-Law No. 457 is hereby rescinded.
6. DONE AND PASSED as a By-Law of the Town of Leaf Rapids at the Townsite of Leaf Rapids, in the Province of Manitoba, this 22nd day of March, 2007, A.D.
EXEMPTIONS TO THE BY-LAW
Small plastic bags that are used to store non-packaged goods such as: a) Dairy products b) Fruit, vegetables or nuts c) Confectionery d) Cooked foods, hot or cold e) Ice f) Smaller bags for fresh meat, fish, candy and poultry g) Bags that cost more than $1.50