Toronto’s sudden move to ban plastic bags came as a shock to probably everyone but the City councillors around the table.
Retailers weren’t consulted and are now scrambling to figure out how they’ll to manage the change, slated to take place in January.
The mayor was taken aback, calling the rash move “the dumbest thing that council’s done . . .”
Trying to reduce the use of plastic bags has been mulled here; a few years back, Coun. Arjun Singh tried to introduce a “plastax” but gained no support from fellow councillors.
Not jumping the gun is wise, especially when there are options beyond a ban to encourage people to use fewer plastic bags, and since provincial approval might be required as B.C. municipalities are governed by the community charter.
Some grocers here already charge a nominal fee for plastic bags and others donate a few cents to charity if customers bring and use their own bags, for example.
The small mountain city of Rossland, in the West Kootenay, had a movement afoot in 2007 to boot plastic bags, the same time that Leaf Rapids, Man., became the first Canadian city with such a ban.
The business community didn’t like the idea so the City hedged, but it didn’t deter residents trying to find ways to reduce the bags’ use.
A group got a local credit union to buy 6,000 reusable shopping bags and a local designed a graphic for them. They were delivered to all 1,600 residences, given away at special events and through businesses.
Kamloops could take the community engagement angle one step farther with a contest asking kids to design a logo, have businesses and the City partner to buy blank reusable bags, and give them away in the schools.
With the kids having a hand in their creation, the young ones will be invested in wanting to use the bag, reminding parents not to forget them in the back seat of the car.
Plastic bags litter the roadways and are definitely an environmental problem, but it’s important to consider solutions rather than pushing through a sudden ban.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.