Friday, November 28, 2008

Reasons to ignore the media and play guitar instead

Staunch defender of plastic bags I am. I never fail to be irked by the sight of people leaving the government monopoly that is the LCBO without a bag, or with a paper bag heavily laden with precious brew. In Ontario, the plastic bag is no longer an option at these outlets.

I admit, I am similarly bothered to see customers bring their re-useable bags to the grocery store. I contribute relatively little to the landfill, certainly a tiny fraction compared to David Suzuki's and Al Gore's output, and voluntarily do my part to reuse and recycle, but the totalitarian nature of the regime of green has me longing for the days when everything went to the curb in a big black garbage bag.

Toronto, the bastion of diversity and correctness, has not yet banned the plastic bag, nor the plastic Tim Horton's lid, but if council approves, the focus will no longer be on a promised Pavlovian reward, but instead on penalties for incorrect choices:

A compromise between the city and big supermarkets will make shoppers pay a 5-cent penalty for taking a plastic bag instead of receiving a 10-cent reward for bringing a reusable bag.

[..] Mayor David Miller announced the deal he brokered with the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors at a waste transfer station near the port decked out with the colourful vinyl, cloth and canvas reusable bags, bins and carry alls that big supermarkets like Loblaws, Metro and Sobey's currently sell to shoppers at the cash.
Mr. Miller promised to introduce an amendment at city council to replace the rebate with the fee. He called it the "right thing to do" both for the environment and for business.

"The highest level of environmental responsibility is reducing," he said. "It makes absolutely no sense to use oil, scarce oil, for something and then throw it away. Yes, we will be able to recycle these bags, and people will still be able to use them in the green bins... Other kinds of bags that are not recyclable will be banned. (The National Post)
The threat of plastic bag bans are increasingly a chilling possibility. And the dissenters are not helping the cause with their collectivist bleatings:
Not everyone is on side however. The CCGD (Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors) represents about 60% of supermarkets. No one from the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, representing retailers as well as convenience stores and small markets attended the announcement.

Nor did the Retail Council of Canada.

Diane Brisebois, president and CEO, said the retailers her group represents would rather see a provincially harmonized policy on reducing reliance on plastic bags than a city bylaw.

"Otherwise this will become a patchwork of bylaws," she said. "We need a level playing field."
And nor are Industry studies saving the plastic bag by sampling a single re-useable bag from some random shopper of unknown hygienic habits:
Reusing bags might be good for the environment but an industry lobby group has released a preliminary study that suggests such reused bags are dangerous to our health.

A news release issued Thursday by Food Fight Toronto said an independent study out of Guelph found high levels of bacteria and mould in the one sample bag it tested.

From Nov. 1-18, Guelph Chemical Laboratories took a sample swab from a reusable plastic shopping bag and found an elevated bacteria count of 1,800. A level of 500 is considered safe for water.

[..] Pandey said the levels are high likely because people don't wash the bags as carefully or as often as they should. He said the bags must be washed in 140 C water to be free of any germs -- a temperature higher than most dishwashers reach (water boils at 100 C).

The bag was taken at random from a shopper leaving a grocery store. It had been in use for one year to transport groceries, said the news release.

"We know that a sample size of one is not enough, but one canary in the tunnel is enough to serve as a warning," said Joe Schwarcz, scientist and Director of the University of McGill Office of Science and Society. (CTV)
cp: The Broom


Cannuck said...

"I never fail to be irked by the sight of people leaving the government monopoly that is the LCBO without a bag,etc."

I recently had a brown bag experience in Woodstock LCBO.
The nice lady asked if I wanted my bottle in a bag and I responded , "Yes by all means".
The nice lady couldn't hide her displeasure when I explained to her I will never walk out in the street carrying my whiskey/ wine or whatever for all to see the cheap stuff I drink.
Geez, there is one monopoly situation that needs competition and badly!

DYLANESQ said...

Returning used bags for reuse is totally gross.

I found that by using my daypack instead of supermarket bags I ended up having to buy new plastic kitchen garbage bin liners as i no longer had the used market bags to use for that purpose.

So I don't see the point.