Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Council to decide on plastic bag action

Today Zero Waste Vancouver will be on the speaker's list, along with many other organizations and concerned individual citizens, as City Council considers a motion to "phase out" plastic bags.

Will our city join the growing number of communities that are taking tough action to curb plastic bag use?

This blog has taken note of recent landmark legislation in places as diverse as China and Ireland, London UK and Leaf Rapids MB. Even Uganda has a law banning plastic bags.

The sanctions range from taxes (Ireland) to outright bans (Leaf Rapids) to retailer take-back requirements (New York City) to requirements that retailers use only biodegradable bags (San Francisco).

Politicians are safe in taking strong action on this issue, because they are responding to a deep public concern. The plastic bag has become an object of revulsion all over the world.
Photo documentation of the impacts on wildlife has put the plastics industry and the retail industry on notice: do something to clean up your act or lose the privilege of doing business.

Name-brand retailers like Ikea and Whole Foods are scrambling to claim the high ground, while their industry associations still insist that public education will solve the problem (plastic bags don't litter, people litter...).

The Retail Council's proposed fixes for Vancouver do not include retailer take-back. They haven't grasped the principle of cradle-to-cradle recycling, where producers are expected to provide take-back and recycling, rather than counting on public garbage services.
If you can handle it, here are some great online sources of ghastly photos of plastic's impact on marine life:

Planet Ark still photos

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