We should move to less plastic, not more

Apparently, Thrifty Foods wants customer opinion about possibly returning to the use of plastic bags in its Cowichan Valley stores.

Apparently, Thrifty Foods wants customer opinion about possibly returning to the use of plastic bags in its Cowichan Valley stores.

We’re certainly against it.

Thrifty Foods deserves a lot of credit for taking a leadership role and eliminating plastic bags at the till.

This was an environmentally responsible move that showed they were serious about doing their part to preserve and protect the world we all live in.

Plastic bags are not, in most cases, necessary.

There are a plethora of choices when it comes to reusable cloth bags, all of which work often better than plastic.

Who hasn’t had the experience of having the handles gradually tear off a cheap plastic bag as you carry your heavy purchase, or had a sharp edge of the additional packaging that pretty much everything comes swathed in puncture the plastic bag, shredding it into worthlessness?

Cloth is far more durable, even as it’s a huge boon to the environment.

And for business purposes, there’s still plenty of opportunity to brand your cloth bags, as all the grocery stores do, just as one would plastic.

There’s really no excuse.

It’s true, some of those plastic bags get recycled a couple of times, either as garbage can liners or to carry something again, and a few people do faithfully separate them out from the rest of the trash and take them in for a final recycling finish.

But we know that by far the majority of them still wind up in landfills or blowing along highways or in our oceans.

Only about five per cent of plastic bags worldwide are recycled. That’s a pitifully low number, when we consider that we collectively use over a trillion of them every year.

Still not convinced to switch to cloth?

The plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to break down, doing untold damage before that happens.

For example, in marine environments they have proven particularly deadly to birds, whales, seals, sea turtles and more as they eat, or become tangled in the bags, dying as a result.

All because we find it too difficult to remember to get the cloth bag out of the trunk of the car when we head into the grocery store, or when we go to the pharmacy, or when we buy clothes.

The complaints about lack of water resistance of cloth or paper bags doesn’t, well, hold water compared to the consequences of the use of plastic.

Such as small inconvenience sounds more like an excuse than a convincing argument.

There are other solutions, such as investing in one or two more weatherized cloth bags. We must hold firm and not go backwards.