17 posts categorized "Region-Canada"

May 27, 2009

A new health threat: Eco-friendly bags

Chicago Tribune 5.27.09

Your eco-friendly shopping bag could be making you sick, a study says. But before you switch back to plastic, you might want to consider the source.

An overly alarming 15-page paper, published on the Web site for Canada's Environment and Plastics Industry Council, concluded that reusable grocery bags are "a breeding ground for bacteria and pose a public health risk" because of high counts of yeast, molds and bacteria. Download the study here.

Our Take:
  What a joke! The plastics industry just won't stop twisting science and sounding false-alarms to justify our plastic addiction. A great level-headed article from the Tribune that turns a critical eye towards this campaign of misinformation, which many journalists simply regurgitate (one of the inflammatory articles we saw on this industry-funded study was titled "Reusable Grocery Bags May Poison You" - no joke).
Common sense practices like washing your reusable bag and using plastic when worried about leakage can reduce contaminants. When you're choosing a reusable shopping bag, avoid the cheap ones and steer towards high quality, durable bags that withstand washing. In countries like Australia and Ireland, reusable bags have once again become a part of daily life and they haven't experienced any of these health concerns.

Link: A new health threat: Eco-friendly bags

February 18, 2009

Reducing plastic bag use 'on target'

TheStar.com 2.07.09

Ontario shoppers carried home 269 million fewer shopping bags in 2007 than they did in 2006.

On the other hand, they still carted off a little more than 4 billion single-use bags over the course of the year. That's 316 bags per year for every man, woman and child in the province. And fewer than one in 12 of those bags found its way into a recycling program.

Link: Reducing plastic bag use 'on target'

January 08, 2009

Toronto votes for plastic bag fee, banning the water bottle

National Post 12.02.08 Posted_Toronto

After two days of debate and as many as 25 proposed amendments, Toronto council last night voted by a margin of three-to-one for a groundbreaking series of packaging-reduction bylaws.

Our Take:  Huge news! While Chicago implemented a bottled water tax in 2008, this is the first bottled water ban we’re aware of – congratulations, Toronto. Banning the sale of plastic water bottles at all city-run facilities is sure to put a dent in consumption. Unfortunately, the 5-cent bag fee voted through just isn’t enough to change consumer behavior.

Link: Toronto votes for plastic bag fee, banning the water bottle 

Controversial coffee cup proposal put on hold

Coffeelids CBC News 11.13.08

After a marathon meeting, a Toronto city council committee has decided not to ban paper drink cups with plastic lids — for now, but will push ahead with two other controversial recycling moves…

The committee also decided to take the next step in its proposal to ban on the sale of water in plastic bottles at all city-run facilities — that the issue go before council.

Our Take:  Part of the “disposables” story we’ve been following, drawing attention to other common forms of wasteful consumption, such as coffee cups and lids. Toronto is sending a clear message that overconsumption must be stopped. Although the ban on cups and other disposables was rejected, perhaps a fee (like France’s ‘picnic tax’) is still viable – and the best solution for changing consumer behavior.

Link: Controversial coffee cup proposal put on hold

October 22, 2008

BPA Legislation Heats Up

CBC News 10.18.08 Wsj_2 

The federal government has decided to add bisphenol A to the country’s list of toxic substances and draft regulations that ban the sale in Canada of plastic baby bottles containing the chemical…

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog 10.14.08

There’s a bit more heat this week on bisphenol A, this time courtesy of attorneys general in Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware. The AGs sent letters to 11 companies asking them to voluntarily stop putting the chemicals into baby bottles and formula.

Our Take:

Two big moves to ban BPA – Canada is a model for when government acts responsively and proactively in the interest of public safety. Fortunately, we’re seeing some great leadership on the part of Conneticut, New Jersey and Delaware. We hope it’s only the beginning of Americans taking matters into their own hands – politically and personally – to put health before profit.

Link: Canada moves to ban bisphenol A in baby bottles

Link: States Ask Companies to Stop Putting BPA in Baby Bottles

September 29, 2008

Toronto considering ban on paper coffee cups

Coffeecup_4 CBC News 09.15.08

The City of Toronto is considering everything from a tax to an outright ban on objects like paper coffee cups, fast-food containers and plastic bags that clog the recycling system.

By 2010, Toronto wants to send only 30 percent of its garbage to landfill sites. But to achieve that goal, the city says, it needs to limit the garbage that takes up a lot of space—and that means reducing Styrofoam cartons, plastic bags and the ubiquitous paper coffee cup.

Our Take:  Part of a growing trend of legislation (still outside the U.S. mainly), taking aim at use-and-toss items often perceived as free. We anticipate more cities will continue targeting the wasteful over-consumption of food containers and paper cups.

Link: Toronto considering ban on paper coffee cups

June 24, 2008

A little more junk in the water

National Post, 06.02.08 Junk_raft

In a unique take on raising awareness of the dramatic rise of plastics in our oceans, Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal are in the midst of an intense sailing expedition. Their vessel? A raft made from 15,000 plastic bottles, 5,000 plastic bags and a cockpit from an old Cessna airplane. The Algalita Marine Research Foundation hopes the “Junk Raft" will get people to pay attention to the tragedy of the increasing amount of discarded plastic in our oceans; plastic like toothbrushes and cigarette lighters that are choked on by sea birds and microscopic particles that are consumed by fish.

Link: A little more junk in the water 

Check out the blog: Junk Raft Blog

April 25, 2008

Canada Says Chemical In Hard Plastic Bottles May Be Unsafe

Associated Press 04.19.08
An ubiquitous chemical found in hard plastic water bottles, DVDs, CDs and hundreds of other common items came under increased pressure Friday when Canada said it's potentially harmful and may ban its use in baby bottles. Health Canada made the announcement shortly after a U.S. company said it would stop selling hard-plastic Nalgene water bottles made with bisphenol A because of growing consumer concern over whether the chemical poses a health risk.

Link: Canada Says Chemical In Hard Plastic Bottles May Be Unsafe

Canada Plans To Ban Polycarbonate Baby Bottles

Reuters 04.18.08
Canada intends to become the first country to ban the import and sale of some types of plastic baby bottles because they contain a chemical that the government says could harm infants and toddlers. Health Minister Tony Clement said on Friday he would bring in rules to outlaw plastic polycarbonate baby bottles, perhaps within the next year. These bottles are made with bisphenol A, which is also used in food and water containers.

Link: Canada Plans To Ban Polycarbonate Baby Bottles

Debate Rages Over Plastic Bottle Chemical’s Safety

Reuters 04.18.08

Canada is moving to get rid of products with a chemical common in plastic baby bottles, the United States is expressing concern over its safety and some retailers are planning to stop selling these items. But whether the chemical bisphenol A poses genuine health risks in people remains a matter of debate, with industry groups defending its safety and environmental activists saying studies involving animals show otherwise.

Link: Debate Rages Over Plastic Bottle Chemical's Safety

More US Retailers Give BPA The Boot

USA Today 04.21.08

Canada's proposed ban on a hormone-like chemical in baby bottles has spurred U.S. retailers and legislators to try to phase out use of the ingredient, called bisphenol A, or BPA. Canada's announcement Friday came just days after the National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found "some concern" that low levels of BPA cause changes in behavior and the brain, prostate gland, mammary gland and the age at which girls enter puberty.

Link: More US Retailers Give BPA The Boot

February 01, 2008

Plastic Bags Blow, People!

The Chronicle West End Edition 01.16.08

Having lived in Europe for a decade, I find most of North America painfully slow in enacting the appropriate legislation to promote environmental sustainability. While Leaf Rapids, Manitoba and Huntington, Quebec may have banned plastic bags here at home, these are isolated and community-based initiatives; not country-wide legislation that could make a serious dent in the issue.

I recognize that, thanks to Hollywood and Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth", the environment has become a fashionable cause to rally behind. "Statement" cotton bags are all the rage! Last year's Anja Hindmarch-designed and much-hyped about "I'm not a plastic bag" tote, became an immediate seller, as fashion-conscious shoppers clamored to get their hands on one. I'm no better, professing a love for my "Plastic bags blow" organic cotton shopping bag, available from www.reusablebags.com.

Sure these bags have become trendy in a shallow and vain sort of way, but –again—I don't care how people come about their environmental consciousness, as long as they do and as long as every little decision and step along the way contributes to making plastic bags passé and a relic of the past.

Link: Plastic Bags Blow, People!

May 09, 2007

Ontario Government Targets 50% Reduction in Plastic Bags by 2012

Ontario Ministry of the Environment 05.09.07

Ontario's government has struck a deal with industry leaders to markedly reduce the number of plastic bags distributed in Ontario over the next five years. The pact includes commitments to a goal to reduce the use of plastic bags by 50% in five years; consideration of in-store and Blue Box recycling programs for Ontario stores and consumer education initiatives to promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of bags already in circulation.  The program also includes annual monitoring and reporting to ensure progress is made. 

“It’s very encouraging that industry is ready and willing to take on this challenge publicly and work with us to dramatically reduce, re-use and recycle more in Ontario,” said Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten. “Ontarians use almost 80 plastic bags per second –  that’s close to seven million bags every day. Reducing the volume of plastic bags that end up in landfills is a top priority for us,” she added. 

Link: Ontario Government Targets 50% Reduction in Plastic Bags by 2012

April 20, 2007

Leaf Rapids first Canadian municipality to ban plastic shopping bags

North Bay Nugget

North Bay council is encouraging residents to help protect the environment and extend the life of the landfill by using fewer plastic bags.

Council, after much debate, adopted a motion tabled Monday by Coun.
Chris Mayne congratulating the Manitoba town of Leaf Rapids as the first Canadian municipality to ban plastic shopping bags and encouraging local residents to use reusable carrying bags and boxes when possible...

Link: Leaf Rapids first Canadian municipality to ban plastic shopping bags.

April 02, 2007

Canadian Town Bans Plastic Bags

CBC News

The northern Manitoba town of Leaf Rapids became the first municipality in Canada to ban plastic shopping bags on April 2, 2007.

"Everybody's on board," Mayor Ed Cherrier said. "Our Co-op store and Fields, they're really supporting our initiative. And in fact, our Co-op store has offered a challenge to all of Federated to go bag-free across Canada."

Link: Canadian Town Bans Plastic Bags.

January 12, 2007

City Councillor Calls For Tax On Plastic Bags

City News

Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38 - Scarborough Centre) wants to reduce the numbers of plastic bags that Ontarians throw out - by 80% to 90% - by introducing a 25-cent per bag levy.

Said the Councillor, "It is a lot of money, and it's a lot of waste that's being created and it's a lot of energy being consumed to create a product that really is very, very bad for the environment...So what this would do, hopefully, is encourage people to go to cloth bags, paper bags and reusable bags."

Link: City Councillor Calls For Tax On Plastic Bags.

November 08, 2006

Tofino Embraces Hybrids, Trashes Plastic Bags


Tofino’s committee of the whole backed recommendations that may soon require the district to purchase recycled office-supply products and hybrid vehicles. Committee members will also write local businesses, asking how the community can cut down on the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags.

Coun. Derek Shaw, the author of the resolutions, said the purpose of the policies is to ensure the District of Tofino promotes ecologically and socially sustainable products. He said council should consider joining a socially sustainable purchasing network.

Link: Tofino Embraces Hybrids, Trashes Plastic Bags.