Plastic Bag Use Cut by 50%+ Two Years Ahead of Schedule in Québec

Plastic BagFlickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Let's Just Charge 5 Cents Per Bag Everywhere...

In 2008, the government of Québec set the goal of reducing by 50% the use of plastic bags in the province by 2012. That might have seemed ambitious at the time, but a new study by the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP, what a long name...) shows that by 2010 that target had already been reached, mostly thanks to voluntary participation by retailers who encouraged their customers to use reusable canvas bags and charged 5 cents per plastic bag (most of that money was donated to environmental NGOs too!).

For example, Loblaw, a huge food retailer, has reduce by 3.8 billion the number of plastic bags it use since 2007, and has donated 4 million dollars to WWF-Canada from the 5 cents that it now charges per plastic bag. Things are similar at other retailers.

plastic bag photoNewtown grafitti/CC BY 2.0

This success, which parallels the success in reducing plastic bag usage in many other places around the world, it just one more argument in favor of a broad adoption of similar practices. Just making plastic bags non-free for the customer has a huge impact.

Part of the reason for reducing the use of plastic bags is because so many end up in the ocean where they kill many marine species.

Via Radio-Canada (French)

See also: US Throws $11.4 Billion in the Trash. Every Year.

Tags: Canada | Quebec


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