Toronto Bans Plastic Bags
Toronto has just become the first major Canadian city to ban plastic bags. In a bill passed yesterday, the Toronto capital's city council voted to ban bags outright effective January 1, 2013. The issue arose when the council was asked to do away with the five-cent levy on plastic bags. They certainly did just that—and made headlines by outlawing the sacks instead! The bill calls for the city to "to prohibit all City of Toronto retail stores from providing customers with single-use plastic carryout (shopping) bags, including those advertised as compostable, biodegradable, photodegradable or similar."
Clearly unhappy by this turn of events, Mayor Ford said that the bill will face legal challenges. "You can't tell people they can't give out plastic bags," he said. But actually, many major North American cities already do just that. Banning single-use plastic bags saves an untold amount of garbage from landfills and keeps disposable bags out of the natural environment. It's not only a good long-term environmental strategy for cities. It sets an example that not using disposable plastic bags is possible—and even desirable.