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Ban the bag: London MP wants Canada to be more like Toronto

Toronto introduced its five-cent bag fee more than a year ago, and people are still grumbling about it (most recently, Mel Lastman in an interview with Eye Weekly). So we can only imagine what would happen if Irene Mathyssen, MP for London-Fanshawe, gets her way and manages to ban the plastic bag throughout Canada. She probably won’t—hey, it’s a private member’s bill from the NDP—but Big Grocer is weighing in anyway to tell us what a bad idea it is.

According to the Vancouver Sun:

But Allen Langdon, environment vice-president of the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, said the ban won’t help the environment.

“We’re not in favour of the ban. Consumers require something to transfer their groceries or goods from store to car or home. To make the giant leap forward and just ban them is to put us in a situation where we don’t have a viable alternative choice other than reusable bags,” Langdon said….

If they are banned, however, consumers will spend money on garbage and pet waste bags, so Langdon predicts a ban won’t decrease the amount of plastic ending up in landfills.

Saying that people will simply buy more expensive plastic bags is at least less embarrassing than when the Canadian plastic industry funded “scientific” “studies” “proving” that reusable bags are full of bacteria that corrode happiness and make babies ugly. Congratulations, Mr. Langdon.

It turns out that it’s not just elite-filled Toronto that’s gotten in on the bag-restricting game: no less than the heart of oil country, Fort McMurray, banned the plastic bag last month. Surely if urban Ontario and oil patch Alberta can agree on something, there’s some hope for this bill.

• Grocery store rep says ‘drastic’ plastic bag bill will be trashed [National Post] • Plastic bag ban sought by Ontario MP [CBC News] • Private member’s bill seeks to ban plastic bags across Canada [Hamilton Spectator] • John Ivison: NDP behaviour police target plastic bags and forgetful husbands [National Post]

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