SHOULD QUEBEC TAX PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS?

According to Quebec Environment Minister, Lise Beauchamp, the Charest government is now deciding whether to tax plastic shopping bags: “They are a plague on the environment. So we will take a decision this fall.” A 20-cent tax per shopping bag is the number now being bandied about.

It’s estimated it can take 400 years for a plastic shopping bag to decompose. The strategy is that a tax on plastic bags would push customers to turn to reusable grocery bags.

The results of this strategy is best illustrated by the example of Ireland. Introduced in 2002, Ireland’s tax of 15 cents per bag reduced their use by 95 per cent. Based on the estimate Quebecers use 1.5 billion plastic shopping bags annually a 90 per cent reduction would generate $30 million for the government. Presumably this money would be dedicated to environmental concerns.

In your opinion should the Quebec government levy a small tax on plastic shopping bags?

Would you be happy to pay such a tax?

3 Comments »

  1. 1
    jim Says:

    Neil:-
    Don’t let the government pull the wool over your eyes. The real issue is that the tree felling industry (votes) has gone to pot.What will happen at the cashier’s post is that the client will ask for a paper bag rather than pay for plastic. Most people don’t schlep a bag around to shopping. The enviroment minister has forgotten that the Kyoto agreement leans toward planting trees not cutting them down. Let’s introduce bio degradable plastic bags.Secondly, plastic shopping bags are recycled as kitchen garbage bags.
    Also are they intending to eliminate the large green garbage bags and we have to go back to garbage pails?. jim

  2. 2
    Barbara Says:

    I am one of those who schlepp around fabric shopping bags. I intend to give them to friends as Christmas gifts. I can put twice what fits in a plastic bag into one of them.
    In Germany, people used to use baskets to carry their purchases about — like Little Red Riding Hood.
    In Japan, refuse is sorted much more seriously than here. You must buy paper bags to contain your paper trash, plastic bags to contain your plastic trash, etc. Everyone carries around several sizes of cloths (furoshiki) that are tied to create containers in which they can schlepp their purchases.
    I am all for charging for plastic bags. Did you know you can get a rebate of 10 cents for each recyclable bag you use to carry off your groceries? I get that at the local IGA, in any case. It pays for them before you know it.

  3. 3

    Back in 1973 when I stood at a line up at a university grocery store in Paris waiting for the cashier to pack my groceries, I wondered two things: how come she wasn’t doing it for me and where were the bags she’d need to do the job?
    People standing around, plus the cashier, were gleefully enjoying my distress until finally, a fellow Canadian whispered to me that I should have brought my own shopping bag and that here, in Paris, one had to pack one’s own groceries!
    Since then, I have my own shopping cart on wheels with one washable cart liner bag in it and of course have long ago learned my lesson. It feels good not to contribute to waste.


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