Does Toronto Stand Alone in Banning Plastic Bags?

Does Toronto stand alone with its ban on disposable plastic bags for shopping?

No, Toronto is in good company, according to a well-researched infographic from who asked me to publish it. (Updated Oct. 11, 2015): the infographic is no longer available online.

(Updated Nov. 28, 2012): Toronto City Council voted 38-7 this morning, Nov. 28 2012, to postpone the ban on disposable plastic shopping bags. The current plan is to “revisit the discussion on the ban in June (2013) following public consultation”.  For the moment, Toronto neither stands alone nor does it ban plastic bags.

Problems and Solutions for Disposable Plastic Bags

"Plastic Bag Nightmare" image by Zainub (Zainub Razvi)
“Plastic Bag Nightmare” image by Zainub (Zainub Razvi)

Major cities such as Washington DC imposed a shopping bag fee; others have banned their use altogether. Other Canadian cities might follow suit, if their provincial legislation gives them the appropriate authority. (Apparently this won’t happen in BC without those changes, for example).

The problem is that the developed world, including Toronto, uses and throws away a huge number of plastic bags every day, week and year. The total amount clogs landfills and pollutes the oceans. We recycle very little of this plastic, but require petroleum as the feedstock to make new plastic bags. Although we don’t often think that disposable plastic bags cause pollution, they do kill animals that try to eat them, and make it more difficult for plants to grow.

There is a limit to how often one can reuse a plastic shopping bag; eventually it gets a rip or tear. Recycling plastic bags could be one answer, but we haven’t demonstrated much success.

It’s easy to protect our environment by buying multi-use or reusable plastic bags; they are strong and sturdy, having served our household well for several years. It’s easy to buy reusable plastic shopping bags in many stores in Toronto.

Toronto’s ban on plastic bags is a current controversy; see  “Plastics group suing city over bag ban” (by David Rider of the Toronto Star on Nov. 20, 2012) with its own back links.

I don’t normally comment on political issues; but although this infographic’s focus is largely on the USA, it makes an important environmental point. I’d like to consider this article  about the plastic bag ban in Toronto as a public service announcement.

LearnStuff‘s original article is also gone.

(Updated Feb. 22, 2013): Read about a related topic in “What is Climate Change Doing to the Earth, per LearnStuff“, with their latest infographic.

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Thank you for reading this article and infographic about banning plastic bags in Toronto.

One thought on “Does Toronto Stand Alone in Banning Plastic Bags?”

  1. Mike,

    I think Seattle just banned plastic bags, although suburban neighborhoods have not. I think that using paper bags makes more sense. Plastics are usually made from petroleum. Paper is a biodegradable and natural product. The only problem might be for those of us who reuse our plastic bags at the doggie park. Anyone have other solutions for that icky issue?

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