Plastic bag ban in Brossard’s
By: Dan laxer – mtltimes.ca
Well, of course I need a bag. How the heck else do you expect me to get all of these groceries home? And don’t give me that nonsense about charging me 5 cents to save the environment. You and I both know that’s poppycock; the big, bad grocery chains just want to recoup whatever monies they spend on the bags by downloading that cost onto the consumer. The little local guys never ask me if I need a bag, it’s just a given. And they don’t charge me for them.
Whew. Rant over.
This week Brossard has become the third Quebec municipality to ban plastic bags, along with Huntingdon and Deux-Montagnes. It was a unanimous council decision. Of course the plastic industry is none-too-pleased. But even Brossard residents say it’s time to reconsider our over-abundant use of plastic bags.
In Montreal we can still use them until Earth Day 2018. What an auspicious date that’ll be, as we toss all of our un-environmental plastic into the wind on a day set aside for pro-environmentalist chest-thumping. And who knows where it’ll all end up; as far as I know, despite our best efforts, plastic shopping bags still aren’t biodegradable, and there are islands of them swirling around the world’s oceans. I’m sure it’s not a pretty sight. But I can’t help thinking of the late George Carlin’s view on the environment movement, and how the Earth will eventually incorporate plastic into its make-up.
“The planet has been through a lot worse than us,” Carlin ranted in 1992. “Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice age… And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference?”
I don’t necessarily agree with Carlin’s view, but I don’t necessarily disagree, either.
I have a vast collection of plastic bags of various sizes and colours from a handful of stores. Each has its use, from makeshift lunch bags to a receptacle for my recycling (a bin takes up too much space). I can use them to line my bathroom waste-basket, or the small one under the kitchen sink. Or I can stuff them into my pockets on my way to the store and save the nickel I’d have to pay for a whole new bag.
You see, there are three kinds of people. There are the die-hard environmentalists who have their own reusable shopping bags. There are those who don’t mind the small-price-to-pay for the plastic bags. And there are those who, like me, will begrudgingly take the bags and not-so-silently resent the nickel expense. And I’ll tell whoever will listen what I waste I think it is, because at the end of the day it does nothing for the environment. It makes you feel good, I guess. It makes you feel like you’re doing your part. But it’s an illusion… or a red herring. And it gets my goat.
I suppose I shouldn’t resent it, though. At a time when produce is prohibitively expensive, it’s nice to be able to get a bunch of something at the grocery store for just pennies. To wit, I may not be able to afford grapes this month. But I can buy a plastic bag to carry them home in.