Better than Banning Plastic

I have heard the Trudeau government is moving ahead with a ban on a wide variety of single use plastic items.

Good stuff.

However, I have a simple proposal for dealing with all single use plastic that would be much more effective.

My proposal? Make retailers responsible for all the plastic they sell or giveaway.

All of it.

Get government completely out of the recycling business.

Make it mandatory that any business that sells plastic is required to take plastic products and packaging back. Back at the point of sale.

Here’s an example: after I get home from my favourite big box retailer I can remove the plastic wrapping from around the big bundle of rolls of toilet paper which are also individually wrapped in plastic.

I jam all that plastic wrapping into a plastic bag that a small local grocery store gave me, toss in a handful of straws from all the Slurpees my kids have consumed, see a plastic milk jug and some plastic wrapping from lunches, and I set the bag of waste plastic aside until the next time I go shopping.

Then, when I go shopping, I take my bag of plastic waste with me back to whatever store I happen to go into next. Be that my favourite big box retailer, my local grocery store, or the purveyor of slurpees. Whoever the lucky retailer may be.

And I leave that bag of plastic waste with the retailer.

If the retailer sells it, they take it back.

That’s it.

And we ban all plastic waste from our garbage “steam”. No plastic allowed in our household garbage.

All of it goes back to the retailer.

And you know what that’ll do? The retailers will scream and howl that they don’t know what to do with it and blah blah blah.

But if they want to sell plastic or give plastic away, they need to figure out how to deal with the waste that is being created.

And, if they’re as smart as I think they are, they’ll go up the production stream and demand that their suppliers stop using so much plastic.

Why dies a producer individually wrap each roll of toilet paper and then wrap the big bundled them? And then the retailer puts the whole mess of plastic into a plastic bag. Why?

While we’re at it, government could also make retailers institute a deposit/refund system for cigarette butts.

Say a deposit of 25 cents per cigarette that retailers have to collect AND be willing to accept returns of the butts (yuck – can you imagine the stink of all those cigarette butts?).

A simple deposit/refund system like my proposal and you wouldn’t see a single cigarette butt anywhere on any street, sidewalk, or park.

A system funded, organized, and administered by the businesses that sell or giveaway plastics and cigarettes.

Yes, there are some “what ifs…” Let’s work it out. Let’s get started dealing with the endless supply of plastic that is working its way into our system.