Green living Toronto

Toronto’s Ban on the Plastic Bag may be Overturned

It all started off well. Liberal Torontonians and environmentalists alike were overjoyed when much-maligned city mayor Rob Ford attempted to rescind the 5c tax on plastic bags in the city and failed. Not only did the council give Rob Ford’s ban on the 5c tax a smack-down of epic proportions, they went a step further and accepted a proposal to ban the bag altogether from January 1st, 2013.

Rob Ford: 0, Mother Nature: 1

The 5c plastic bag tax had already seen a 71% decrease in the use of plastic bags and plastic bag manufacturers are (understandably) up in arms. They claim that the lack of consultation about the ban prior to the council accepting it is in poor form and that jobs will be lost thanks to a reduction in the use of plastic bags.

Councillor Gord Perks defended the council’s lack of consultation by saying that it was a no-brainer; “Plastic bags come from a non-renewable resource and they pollute our environment,” Perks said. “They wind up either in our landfills or on our streets or in Lake Ontario.”

Thanks to the insistence of plastic bag manufacturers, the ban will be revisited when council meets in November and could be overturned. The manufacturing industry has attempted to bolster support for banning the ban with calls for consumers to contact their local councilors and calls to dog owners to stand up for their rights to use plastic bags to pick up after their pets.

Consumers will still have access to bags, but they will be paper bags which I am told make equally good bags for dogs. Most dog owners are fairly eco-friendly and 90% of them utilize the inexpensive biodegradable dog bags which are freely available.  Still, the plastic bag manufacturers made a video to convince dog owners to lend their support. You can see the video here:

We rebuff with a brilliant video of our own:

Our hope is that the ban will stay in place to help preserve the Ontario environment and that plastic bag manufacturers will be encouraged to find more sustainable sources for raw materials and make biodegradable bags that are less likely to evoke ire among the environmentally friendly. It would also be nice to see Toronto join great cities across the globe that have already banned the bag like London, Mexico City, Delhi, Sydney and many more.

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition to ban the bag here:

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Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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