The problem with plastic

The trillions of plastic bags produced worldwide annually have a knack for ending up everywhere from our rapidly growing landfills to the tops of trees and even the seven seas, where they threaten marine species. Made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource, plastic bags also contribute to air pollution and global warming, giving them the air-land-sea contamination trifecta.

Even if you don’t care about the environmental costs of plastic bags, you should care about the financial ones. Governments keen to earn income while helping the environment have started to tax them, and many retailers now charge customers for them. You can help save the planet and a few dollars a year by purchasing reusable canvas bags and bringing them with you when you go shopping.

For the time being, even if organizations like the Société des alcools du Québec have done away with them altogether, there’s little hope of avoiding plastic bags entirely. But don’t just throw the ones you do have in the trash. Ask the authorities in charge of your local recycling program about what do with them. Most programs accept clean plastic bags together with other recyclable plastics.