Last year, Stephen Rhodes wrote a blog on saving the planet a nickel at a time.
I would like to follow-up on his comments with some observations of my own.
The nickel a bag deal is everywhere, even department stores. I resent paying a department stores for a bag to carry out hard goods or clothing. Is the law such that they have to charge the fee?. There are sales every week for “save the GST”, and other specials that lead one to believe we are somehow avoiding the dreaded tax man. Why won’t a store just absorb the cost of a bag when I spend a certain dollar value with them, and remit it themselves to the gov’t?
Why is it that the bag I put my apples in is free? Maybe next time I’ll take about 40 of those off the roll and pack my groceries. I picked up a suit from the dry cleaners today, and despite the fact that the long thin plastic is dangerous when left around small children, it has somehow escaped the nickel tax. Last Thursday I had minor service performed on my car, and when I got it back there was a large white plastic sheet on the floor to prevent greasy footprints from the mechanic, and there was no charge for that. Yesterday’s mail contained a magazine wrapped in a plastic bag, and nowhere on the subscription do I see an additional charge for the monthly bagging. Just look around you. Do you pay an additional $.05 for each bag when you buy a box of garbage bags? Of course not.
I think I have this figured out. Governments and most financial institutions seem to tax (let’s be serious, this is a tax) things that make life easier and more convenient. Cash machines, license renewals etc.
Carrying out your groceries is far easier with a free bag and that, my friend, deserves a tax. In my house that bag is often re-used again for a variety of things including a garbage bag.
I care about our environment, and I do use the cloth bags or an empty box, which gets recycled. There are hundreds of arguments for paper, cloth and plastic bags in terms of the cost of production, environmental impact and pollution. I read an article recently that I think puts the whole argument into perspective. “what’s in the bag matters a lot more towards stopping global warming than what the bag is made of”
Everyone needs to refocus their attention away from the carry out bag issue, and more on the excessive packaging, the hard un-recyclables, the toxic chemicals used in and on what you buy and the foods that we eat i.e. prepackaged frozen or fresh off the shelves. It is through diligence here that real change will occur.
Forget about the nickel per bag, encourage people to recycle the bags monthly, and put a more determined effort into letting manufacturers and packagers know your displeasure with them.
Is your business looking at the big picture and making changes to be more sustainable?