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EDITORIAL: Time to say goodbye to single-use plastic shopping bags

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor - Google Images
CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

Banning single-use plastic shopping bags or not is a debate that’s been going on for many years in this province and is still not settled, despite attempts by members of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador.

That organization has made representation on the subject several times to the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, only to be told that yet another consultation on the matter is now taking place.

A provincial ban would certainly make it a lot easier for the municipalities within the province as then they wouldn’t have to come forward with their own bylaws to bring that into effect.

However, several communities have already made the move, including Fogo Island and Twillingate and New World Island.

Other jurisdictions in the country have also brought the ban in, including Fort McMurray in Alberta, where a lot of Newfoundlanders are located.

Being on an island with lots of water surrounding us, it seems that there is even more urgency for a plastic ban as for some reason lots of it seems to get into our seas and oceans. The sad part is that fish consume particles of it and eventually humans end up eating it because particles of it is in the food chain.

Each year certain schools carry out a fundraiser collecting these single-use bags and it’s surprising how many they come up with. It’s sort of embarrassing to some families how many they’ve collected and turn in during that time.

Most people don’t realize how many plastic bags they use until they dig through the places they stash them away and do a count.

Sure, we all want to be good citizens and protect the environment; however, when those plastic bags are readily available at the grocery or convenience stores, it’s easy to forget the reusable bags stacked in the back of the vehicle.

Fact is that if they weren’t so easily available then shoppers are more likely to take their reusable bags with them into the store.

Liquor Stores in the province have done away with the plastic bags and, by most accounts, people have purchased their reusable bags or are content to take their product out in paper bags, which can also be repurposed for uses like lighting the wood stove or fireplace.

The fact is that in days gone by people managed with paper bags or paper wrapping and there is no reason they can’t again, which could create a whole new industry.

There are also lots of biodegradable products on the market today that can replace plastic. It just takes some fortitude to bring that about, so you have something to wrap products that may create contaminants.

Yes, single-use plastic bags are just a minute amount of the plastics that exist in our environment but banning them is a good start and pushing for the elimination of other plastics will be strongly recommended.

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