The idea of banning plastic shopping bags came up recently at a Flin Flon City Council meeting. Thompson and The Pas have banned them. Should we?
In the past, I didn’t think it was necessary. I like using them for garbage catchers. They are very convenient for a variety of things. I thought people just need to be responsible and put them in the garbage.
Then I visited the Flin Flon landfill. Bags are everywhere. There are pictures on our Flin Flon Recycling Facebook page.
The landfill attendants report that within 15 minutes of the garbage truck dumping garbage, birds have ripped open the black bags releasing shopping bags into the wind.
So making sure they get to the landfill will not solve the problem.
What is the big deal if there are lots of bags around the landfill? It is a landfill after all.
The landfill is connected to the rest of the world. Plastic bags cause serious problems for wildlife. Landfill attendants regularly rescue birds caught in plastic bags.
Wind and runoff carry bags into the forests, streams and oceans. They cause serious problems for wildlife. Plastic pieces in the ocean outnumber sea life by 6:1.
The phrase ‘plastic is a substance the earth cannot digest’ describes the problem. Once oil is made into plastic, it will be plastic forever. It may break down into very small bits, but it will always be plastic.
Recycling keeps plastic out of the environment and makes it useful again. Recycling plastic shopping bags is very difficult.
Reducing and reusing is always better. Reusable shopping bags are a simple easy way to reduce the plastic getting into the environment.
Let’s do it.