Plastic Garbage

I recently came across a fellow blogger’s photograph of some of the garbage blown around near the Dawson City dump. This reminded me of articles I recently read in the Globe and Mail about a couple trying to go a month without producing any household trash; I was inspired. Of course I can’t claim to have come anywhere close to them, but their campaign made me more aware of just how much garbage we produce. Looking in my own trashcan, I realized that the largest portion of garbage turns out to be plastic: plastic wrap, plastic food containers/wrap (i.e. pasta), and the worst culprit, plastic shopping bags. Though I tried to re-use plastic shopping bags, they eventually tear and end up in the garbage. So I decided to buy canvas tote bags, as mentioned in a previous post.

These thoughts prompted a couple of questions:

  • Why is it that grocery stores aren’t getting on board with this? Any kind of reusable tote bags are so expensive in grocery stores, that who would want to buy them? If they can charge for plastic grocery bags at no profit to themselves, they should be able to do the same with canvas tote bags. Make it easier for consumers to go green, not harder! (The same applies to all retail stores.)
  • Everyone in Whitehorse knows, including store owners, that the city offers compost pick-up every two weeks. Why is it so difficult to find bio-degradable bags in local stores? I can see this being a problem in spring, when everybody’s cleaning their yards, but year-round? What local stores offer is inconsistent. And why on earth would I want to buy huge plastic orange and clear bags to pick up leaves and cuttings that are going to the compost? We need more bio-degradable bags!


  1. Anthony said,

    May 1, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    I often pick up groceries on a bicycle. What irks me is that many stores in Whitehorse do not allow you to bring in your own bag or backpack to pack your groceries because they fear shoplifting. I could just as easily steal things with a canvas sack as with some other type of bag…

  2. May 1, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    That’s too bad Anthony. The last time I went into Canadian Tire, I had my backpack (which I subsequently used instead of a plastic bag), but on a couple of occasions the loudspeaker came on advising customers to leave backpacks at the door; nobody did approach me though. I had my laptop in there, so there was no way I was going to leave it in their care with the risk of getting it stolen. If they would have asked me to leave my bag behind I would have walked out the door.
    Another problem with stores (at least this happened at Canadian Tire): A 45+ colleague went in with her hair in a pony tail and dressed down, and was asked to leave her packsack at the door. Within the same week, she was dressed up, but still had her packsack, and nobody bothered her. Makes you wonder.

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