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Plastic principles


Over the next couple weeks, the four federal election candidates for the Long Range Mountains district will discuss their environmental policies in a series of forums here in Corner Brook.

It was good timing, then, that environmentalist and city councillor, Keith Cormier, brought up the issue of our use of plastic bags. He plans on taking his concerns to the council table in the near future.
While eliminating or just reducing the use of plastic bags may seem like a drop in the global environmental bucket, Cormier says an estimated five million single-use plastic bags are used in Corner Brook alone every year.
That’s hardly a small issue, but it is one that could have easily been taken care of long ago.
Go to any city grocery store, for example, and count how many shoppers are heading to their trunks with handfuls or carts full of plastic bags. The number is far greater than those leaving with reusable bags many stores sell for a minimal, one-time cost at the checkout. These grocery bags have been available for several years now, and it’s time the public starts embracing them as the norm.
It’s not likely that we have our particular preferences for plastic over paper or reusable bags. More likely, we just need more of an incentive to break us of our plastic habit.
Rather than imposing a small surcharge for using plastic bags, as has been attempted at some stores, why not offer customers who shop with reusable totes a discount for a certain period of time?
The average shopper may not notice a minimal plastic tax after so long, but cheaper groceries? That would make people take notice.
It’s a policy that could be instituted at the local business level, and with any luck the larger chains would eventually follow suit. So while it may not seem like much, getting the number of plastic bags used lower than five million would be great for the local environment.
A government eliminating plastic bags, just as trying to eliminate plastic, may be a little extreme. It also ignores the fact those evil plastic bags do have some benefits.
Even if this doesn’t belong as a political issue — at either level — talking about the environment has its place, whether in the store checkout or at one of these forums.

It was good timing, then, that environmentalist and city councillor, Keith Cormier, brought up the issue of our use of plastic bags. He plans on taking his concerns to the council table in the near future.
While eliminating or just reducing the use of plastic bags may seem like a drop in the global environmental bucket, Cormier says an estimated five million single-use plastic bags are used in Corner Brook alone every year.
That’s hardly a small issue, but it is one that could have easily been taken care of long ago.
Go to any city grocery store, for example, and count how many shoppers are heading to their trunks with handfuls or carts full of plastic bags. The number is far greater than those leaving with reusable bags many stores sell for a minimal, one-time cost at the checkout. These grocery bags have been available for several years now, and it’s time the public starts embracing them as the norm.
It’s not likely that we have our particular preferences for plastic over paper or reusable bags. More likely, we just need more of an incentive to break us of our plastic habit.
Rather than imposing a small surcharge for using plastic bags, as has been attempted at some stores, why not offer customers who shop with reusable totes a discount for a certain period of time?
The average shopper may not notice a minimal plastic tax after so long, but cheaper groceries? That would make people take notice.
It’s a policy that could be instituted at the local business level, and with any luck the larger chains would eventually follow suit. So while it may not seem like much, getting the number of plastic bags used lower than five million would be great for the local environment.
A government eliminating plastic bags, just as trying to eliminate plastic, may be a little extreme. It also ignores the fact those evil plastic bags do have some benefits.
Even if this doesn’t belong as a political issue — at either level — talking about the environment has its place, whether in the store checkout or at one of these forums.

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