Plastic bag bans are really starting to catch on (see Los Angeles Becomes Largest US City To Ban Plastic Bags), with Toronto city council voting on Wednesday to enact a ban by 2013. The council came to the decision after discussing whether a mandatory five-cent fee on plastic bags should be axed, which was originally put in place by Mayor Rob Ford.
“It’s the most progressive move that this council’s ever had,” said Willowdale Councilman David Shiner. While a majority of council members agreed to get rid of the bag fee by July 1 of this year, he made the motion to kill bag use altogether by January 1. “It’s better than just trying to get rid of the fee; it’s getting rid of the bags.” He also suggested retailers provide free paper bags.
Similar moves are happening in Hawaii. Last week, the Governor of Honolulu County signed a plastic bag ban into law, making Hawaii the first state in the United States where every city and county has a ban on plastic bags. This was done by individual county councils, not state legislature, so it’s a great example of how positive trends like this catch on and cause policy makers to take a closer look.
Maui and Kauai counties already have bans put in place, and the Hawaii County ban will go into effect next year. Honolulu City and County are the last of the group to enact a ban.
It’s great to see so many cities putting these bans into place, but it’s also important to remember that if you’re in these cities, buy reusable bags to bring to the store rather than using paper bags. Paper bags break down and are much more gentle on the Earth, and can be recycled, but minimizing waste and using resources efficiently are also integral to preserving the environment. There are thousands of online retailers making stylish reusable bags, so they’re easy to find for a great price.