Bans Hurt

Bans Hurt Residents, Local Jobs, the Environment and Your City

Residents Lose

  • A plastic bag ban is going to cost residents who will be forced to purchase reusable bags and kitchen catchers to manage their household waste alternatives.
  • On top of that, if you forget your reusable bag when you shop for groceries or when you want to make an impulse purchase at the corner store, you will be forced to buy a paper bag or not make the purchase. And these fees can add up.
  • In Halifax, the fees under consideration are punitive. You thought 5 cents was a lot of money for a bag. Try 25 cents a bag with a bag ban.
  • Right now Haligonians and most Maritimers pay very little in bag fees… maybe 5 cents a bag. But that is about to change. And over time, it will add up to millions out of your pocket.
  • It's an indirect tax courtesy of city council. Bag bans are a de facto tax - an indirect tax on residents.

Retailers Win

Who benefits from a bag ban? Only retailers.

  • Where does the money you pay out in fees go? Into the pockets of retailers.  They keep the money.
  • We are talking about millions of dollars in increased profits for retailers.
  • It is not surprising that retailers welcome bag bans and fees and recently have taken to promoting bag bans.  They are going to make millions more at your expense.

Hurting the Environment: What is sad is that retailers know that bag bans are really bad for the environment and up until now they have been good environmental stewards committed to product stewardship and environmental education of their customers.

  • Retailers know that reusable bags cannot be recycled in Canada. They know that paper bags dump 7 times more carbon into the environment than plastic bags. This will only accelerate the acidification and warming of our oceans … putting fish stocks at risk.
  • But the lure of millions of dollars in bag fees is just too strong and greed has trumped doing the right thing.

Maritimers & local jobs lose

Politicians need to support local companies and the circular economy.

  • The Maritimes is home to Inteplast, one of the most innovative and successful plastic bag manufacturers and recyclers in Canada.  For decades, Inteplast has provided strong leadership in recovery and recycling technologies now adopted across North America. They laid the groundwork for take-back-to-retail closed loop recycling; today called the "circular economy".
  • A ban on plastic bags anywhere in Atlantic Canada is the death knell for jobs in plastic bag recycling and manufacturing in the region. Plastic shopping bags are recycled & manufactured right here at home in Atlantic Canada by Inteplast, located in Saint John, New Brunswick.
  • Banning bags kills their market so the factory will be forced to close causing serious dislocation and hardship to New Brunswickers.

The Environment Loses

The Alternative Bags – The Substitutes – Paper Bags and Reusables produce from more carbon and have a higher global warming impact than plastic bags.

  • Everyone knows – scientists, retailers, industry – that a bag ban will do nothing to help the environment.
  • In fact, substituting paper bags for plastic will accelerate carbon emissions, the acidification and warming of our oceans and create more waste and GHG emissions.
  • Every scientific study and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) proves that the plastic shopping bag have the lowest environmental impact and has been mislabeled as single-use.
  • The Quebec government study showed that plastic shopping bags are not single-use bags. They identified a 77% reuse rate for plastic shopping bags for household garbage and other uses.

Reusable Bags

  • Reusable bags are single purpose bags and most important, cannot be recycled in Canada or the United States.
  • The Quebec Government LCA showed that reusable bags must be reused many, many times to equal the environmental impact of the thin plastic bag used just once. (Polypropylene (PP) woven and PP non-woven bags need an equivalent number of reuses to equal the thin plastic bag ranging from 16 to 98 and 11 to 59, respectively.) English Highlights Report.
  • This means that reusables will end up as garbage in landfill. And we are talking about a lot of reusable bags going to landfill. They are everywhere. A recent telephone survey of 700 Newfoundlanders found that 81% use reusable bags when they shop for groceries and a social media survey of Haligonians found that 74% of respondents have 5 or more reusable bags.

 Paper bags 

  • Paper bags are one of the worst alternative substitutes for plastic bags because of their intensive carbon footprint which is seven times greater than the conventional plastic bag. They have a seven times greater global warming potential and pose a threat to increased acidification of our oceans. There is not one scientific study that supports the use of paper bags over plastic bags.

  Kitchen Catchers

  • On top of that a bag ban will not eliminate plastic from the waste stream as people now will be forced to by kitchen catchers to manage their household waste.
  • In Ireland, the sale of kitchen catchers increased 77% and plastic consumption actually increased 20% following the imposition of a high tax on plastic bags. So there will more plastic even though the plastic shopping bag has been banned.

The City Loses Too

A ban shortens the life of landfill site 

  • A bag ban shortens the life of a city's landfill site because reusable bags cannot be recycled anywhere in North America. So millions of grams of new plastic from un-recyclable, reusable bags and plastic kitchen catchers will be tossed as garbage into the landfill each year.
  • Reusable bags contain at 80 to 96.5 grams, contain up to 10 times more plastic than the conventional plastic shopping bag at 8 grams.
  • And most important, a bag ban will not keep plastic out of the waste stream because the majority of plastic shopping bags (8 grams) are reused as garbage bags by residents. With a bag ban, residents will be forced to purchase plastic kitchen catcher garbage bags to manage their household waste and these kitchen catchers contain even more plastic than the plastic shopping bag; weighing on average 12.5 grams.
  • So a bag ban could actually lead to more plastic going to landfill not less. So why do it?