Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Think Outside The Bag!

While it earned me the nickname “bag lady” for a few years, my Think Outside The Bag campaign helped bring about change in this region. Instead of an official ban on plastic grocery bags, we saw enthusiastic community support for reducing plastic usage and increasing our re-usable alternatives at groceries stores.

With news that a major grocery chain may go back to offering plastic bags, I feel the need to dust off my campaign and start again. The difference this time is that I think I would be preaching to the converted.

There are many reasons why not using plastic bags is a good idea. The value of oil used to make these bags should alone be a deterrent, but convenience is sometimes a convenient excuse. There is the idea that a ban may save room in the landfill. In reality, plastic grocery bags don’t take up much room.

So what is the most important reason we should stop using plastic shopping bags? It’s simple. There are millions of bags that do not end up in recycling depot, landfills, or under the kitchen sink. If they did, this issue would not be so important. These bags end up in our environment. They are perfectly designed to move by wind. These bags end up polluting our landscape and floating in the ocean surrounding us. Sadly, many sea creatures mistake them as food or are entangled by them, dying of starvation or suffocation. I think our region will continue making smart choices, and I encourage our grocery retailers to continue to Think Outside The Bag.

Lana Popham

MLA, Saanich South