It’s interesting to watch how different municipalities across North America are making efforts to reduce their use of plastic shopping bags and encourage – or force – the use of reuseable bags. Ireland led the way in 2002 by charging about 22 cents per grocery bag and putting the millions raised into recycling programs. In the U.S., San Francisco became the first city in North America, last March, to ban plastic bags in grocery stores and large pharmacies. Leaf Rapids, a small town in northern Manitoba, became the first municipality in Canada to ban plastic shopping bags. Many other municipalities are charging a small amount per plastic bag, or giving cash or air miles incentives for the use of reuseable bags.
On Monday (November 23, 2009) the provincial government of Ontario announced a voluntary program to urge Ontarians to cut in half the number of plastic shopping bags they use over the next five years, from 4 bags per person per week (a total of 7 million per day) to 2 bags per person per week.
At EcoSmart we’ve noticed another kind of bag on the market. Organic cotton produce bags, like the ones from Blue Lotus, claim to keep your vegetables fresher, longer. Tossing greens-gone-brown sure feels bad, especially when approximately 20% of our household food ends up in the garbage. A neat idea this holiday season could be to just bag it altogether and use them as great gift wrapping bags.