Your Plastic Shopping Bag Habits

I’m wondering how your habits have changed since most retailers have begun charging for plastic shopping bags.

Our household now has a supply of reusable bags that we frequently use. Also, at the little neighbourhood grocery store that we do much of our day to day shopping, they often have a large supply of cardboard boxes available for customers to take their groceries home with. These boxes are from the products that are being sold in the store. In essence the customer is taking away the recycling that the store owner would have had to pay to have taken away.

It is interesting to note that estimates by Environment Canada show that Canadians still carry home more than 55 million plastic shopping bags every week.

Plastic shopping bags, which are derived from petroleum or natural gas, can cause problems in sewer drains, end up in landfills or entangle marine life.

Some large national grocery chains report that demand for plastic shopping bags declined by 50% immediately after they began charging 5 cents a bag. In the following months demand dropped by 80%.

The bottom-line for our household though, although we have reusable bags for shopping, we still use plastic bags in our garbage cans. Now, instead of using plastic shopping bags, we go out and buy plastic bags for our garbage cans.

Simply by observing the plastic bags that we buy you can see that they are a much heavier plastic than the plastic shopping bags that we used to get from the grocery store and use in our garbage cans.

I have to wonder if this is making the world plastic bag situation any better. Or has it simply made me pay for something that I used to get for free? Grocery stores no longer have to give out plastic bags at a loss and can actually sell me plastic bags at a profit. Hmmm. Thoughts?

1 Comment

  1. Most wet stuff is going into the green bin now. I’m experimenting with taking out the dry, larger stuff directly to the garbage can to prevent using the plastic bags we seem to inadvertently collect. (Not so much at the grocery store any more. I’ve started carrying a very thin nylon bag that folds into its own pouch in my purse so I don’t accept plastic at London Drugs, clothing stores, etc.)

    I’m thinking paper bags might work for “under the sink” garbage. If I let anything damp dry a little in the sink before it goes to the garbage? By observing what goes in there most often these days – used kleenex, Q-tips, dental floss – nothing that couldn’t be contained by a more environmentally friendly paper bag.

Comments are closed.