Toronto to ban plastic bags beginning in 2013.
The first community in Canada to ban plastic bags was in the northern town of Leaf Rapids Manitoba way back in April 2007. However by now several large U.S. cities including Los Angeles San Francisco and Seattle have banned the bags. The bags stay for ages in landfills without biodegrading.
The Toronto right wing populist mayor Rob Ford was outraged. He claimed that this was the dumbest thing council had done. Ford had wanted council to scrap a five cent retail fee on the bags. They did that as of July 1st. But much to Ford's chagrin they then went on to introduce the ban as well.
In an interview Ford said:"It's just ludicrous," "It's the dumbest thing that council's done, and council's done some dumb things, let me tell you" Why Ford thinks the action so dumb is not clear. However the council could certainly have consulted with stakeholders such as those who make and sell the bags before acting.
There are recyclable plastic bags but when a distributor of plastic bags tried to introduce them in Toronto the city told him that the recycling facilities could not handle them. We use our plastic bags multiple times and extras we donate to thrift shops who reuse them as well. If more people reused the plastic bags there would be less in the landfills. However, I would be in favor of a ban. For more see this article.
In many countries there are bans on plastic bags including an outright ban in Germany and South Africa, and even some underdeveloped and developing countries such as Botswana, Uganda, Kenya, Turkey, Ethiopia, Sweden Singapore and on and on. However no doubt this will not impress Rob Ford.