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Toronto Retailers Left Scrambling for Eco Friendly Shopping Bags
The city of Toronto’s recent last minute motion to ban plastic bags in favour of more eco-friendly shopping bags caught shoppers, retailers, and even city council members by surprise. The ban, passed in June of 2012 by a vote of 27 to 17, makes Toronto the first major Canadian city to go green with a complete plastic bag ban.
Specifically, the ban prohibits “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.”
Even the councilor who moved the environment friendly motion, David Shiner, didn’t see it coming. The motion grew out of a debate started by Mayor Rob Ford, who asked council to scrap Toronto’s existing contentious five-cent levy on plastic shopping bags. “I believe the taxpayers don’t want to pay the five cents any more,” Ford told council.
“These bags are junk,” Shiner proclaimed as the debate progressed, “Whether you want to call them biodegradable or not. They end up in the same place, blowing around the streets or in a landfill.”
“Let’s get rid of the plastic bags,” Shiner exhorted, “Let’s make today a real statement. Let’s tell the industry that we’re not accepting your baloney any more.”
The levy that was the subject of the original debate was intended to discourage the use of non environmentally friendly plastic bags, which clog landfills and waterways, pose a threat to birds and marine animals, and take up to 1000 years to break down.
The levy is credited with cutting the use of plastic bags in the city in half over the past three years. But many Torontonians viewed the levy as an unwanted tax, and questions were mounting about what eco-friendly activities retailers invest in with the estimated $5.4 million annually they collect for the bags.
Shiner based the language for his successful surprise bag-banning motion largely on Seattle’s recently passed ban. In place of plastic bags, Seattle retailers are allowed to sell or give away single-use paper bags.
While considered more environmentally friendly, paper bags can cost 20 to 30 percent more than plastic bags. And of course, single use paper bags are not a completely green product. Their production process consumes energy and water and causes pollution – not to mention the loss of trees.
More and more earth friendly businesses and consumers are bypassing both plastic and paper bags and turning to reusable shopping bags to conserve resources and reduce the impact on the environment.
Retailers looking for ways to go green should take a serious look at Stone Age Packaging’s eco friendly shopping bags, made from their unique stone paper. Stone paper is not made from trees, but from stone, specifically calcium carbonate.
The calcium carbonate is combined with a small amount of non-toxic resin using an eco-friendly production process that does not use water, chlorine or acids, or create air pollution. Durable paper from stone is completely photodegradable and recyclable, and is even food safe.
Reusable bags made from stone paper are waterproof, grease proof and tear resistant, and can be produced in a variety of sizes and styles. Unlike other reusable shopping bags, Stone Age Packaging ecofriendly bags and totes are also bacteria and mould resistant.
Earth friendly stone paper bags are also priced competitively with conventional paper bags. In fact, when ordered in volume, they are more affordable than regular paper products.