Toronto: No More 'Free' Plastic Grocery Bags
In June 2009, Toronto will become the first major Canadian metropolis to enact a bylaw forcing all retailers to charge at least five cents per plastic bag when buying groceries.
"I think attitudes are starting to change. It's already less acceptable to accept free carrier bags," said Vicki Foley, a spokeswoman for Whole Foods and Capers in Vancouver, the world's largest natural-food retailer. "Once people stop accepting plastic bags they become aware of other consumer packaging and they change their habits, insisting on less plastic and buying more whole foods."
This year, Canadians will face a range of incentives - from municipal bans to grocery store fees - aimed at coaxing them to rethink how they carry their shopping, as governments follow a global trend to divert billions of plastic bags away from landfills.
Opponents say the polyethylene bags are an ugly blight on the landscape and over-consumption of a product made with a non-renewable resource, while advocates say they are highly recyclable, play an important role in food safety and are more hygienic when used as rubbish bin liners.
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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada