No plastic bags?!? What sorcery is this?

In between the posts on my social feeds, about the current occupation in Ottawa, there are a number of local pages with posts expressing frustration about a lack of plastic bags when shopping. Apparently, our local Walmart has decided to discontinue offering them at all.

I do appreciate that change can be hard to adjust to, but getting upset about plastic bags, when so many places have been phasing them out for years, does seem a little strange. However, I will admit that I am also the person who has been bringing my own bags for years & when I forget them, I will load it all back into the cart & transfer it by the handful into my car & then in turn into the house. I call it motivation to think ahead next time.

So, why are plastic bags being phased out? To understand that, you need to be aware of how they are made. In short, plastic bags are made from polyethylene, which includes natural gas and petroleum, both of which are fossil fuels. Understandably, when plastic bags break down they cause issues to our environment, with wildlife & ourselves impacted. Every plastic bag we use, might not seem like much, but they all add up, this link gives reasons to think twice about plastic bags (with open bias, but much of the information is still interesting).

I personally feel that the elimination of plastic bags has become a bit of a focus, because they are one of the easier things to eliminate. It’s easier the make the consumer bring their own bags, totes or baskets, than it is to make the producers change their packaging, at least in the short term. It is incredibly difficult to buy some produce that isn’t wrapped in plastic, not impossible, but definitely difficult, especially if you like certain types of vegetables. Most wrap their veggies in plastic (cucumbers are a great example) to help maintain freshness over a longer period of time. Food waste & plastic waste have become intertwined & it really needs to be addressed, but that probably deserves a post on its own.

Making the consumer think more about their plastic, even with carry bags, does have some benefit though. As with anything, when something directly impacts you, you search for other solutions. So, what starts with a reduction in plastic bags, may result in more thought as to what one buys that comes in plastic or is made with plastic (thinking beyond edible items), reducing further plastic waste.

Little changes in routine, require more planning, but after a while, it becomes normal & does get easier. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have setbacks along the way, but its important not to become bogged down by them. The long term benefits are worth way more than any short term inconvenience, especially when it comes to finding ways to reduce our waste & help the environment. In the end, if we all do a little bit, it does have an impact & is so much better than doing nothing at all.

Text over the top of an image of a globe (earth)
We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. 
Quote made by Anne Marie Bonneau
Just do something

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