Jay and I are involved in reducing the amount of single-use plastic bags being consumed on our little village of Wakefield (La Pêche), Quebec, Canada. In 2007 we became the first Fair Trade town in the province of Quebec, second in Canada (see www.fairtradevillage.ca), and now we want to tackle the ever expanding problem of plastic bags. So we formed a little committee with the objective of having something concrete to announce next May when we celebrate Fair Trade Month.
While researching what other towns in the world are doing to address this problem, we discovered that many towns (Leaf Rapids, Manitoba), large cities (San Francisco, New York), States (Texas, Colorado) and even countries (Ireland) around the world are also trying to reduce the use of carryout plastic bags. This is extremely encouraging. But we also found that the plastic bag industry will not hesitate to use hypocritical means to annihiliate these community efforts. For example, in the town of Manhattan beach, California, a Superior Court judge recently rejected the town's ban on plastic carryout bags, ruling that the city should have
first fully studied its potential environmental consequences
(http://www.dailybreeze.com/business/ci_11754190). Hum... and who cares so much about the environment that they would pay large amounts of money to ask the court to stop such a valuable attempt to improve it? A group called Save the Plastic Bag Coalition which is represented by a number of plastics manufacturers who allege that such a ban would lead to the proliferation of paper bags which is -- apparently -- a much worse choice for the environment. How about if perhaps it would lead to the proliferation of reusable bags?
I was quite impressed when I saw the town's website and all the valuable efforts citizens of this town seem to be making to improve the environment, and it made me so sad to realize how ruthless the plastic industry can be at squashing these valuable efforts while pretending it really cares for the environment.
With regards to the plastic vs paper bag debate, I need to read more about it, but as you may have read my earlier post about the amount of water we should be drinking every day, I am a bit skeptical when the plastic industry says it really has our health or the health of our planet at heart.