If there’s one thing that Toronto never fails to provide, its entertaining municipal politics. About a year or two ago, under the reign of our previous mayor, the city passed a bylaw requiring all retailers to charge $0.05 for plastic bags. It was hailed as a landmark decision that saw a major reduction in plastic bag usage. Everywhere I went, I saw more and more people carrying reusable canvas bags to do their shopping. This week though, our new mayor, Rob Ford, attempted to undo these efforts by scrapping the $0.05 fee. He succeeded…but then in a surprise motion brought forward by one of the mayor’s own allies, city council voted instead to completely ban plastic bags starting in 2013. By next year, people will either have to use reusable bags, boxes or something else, because there won’t be a plastic bag in sight! Hopefully, anyways – it may get delayed if the plastics industry decides to sue the city. Nevertheless, hopefully it does go through and I think this will be a great achievement when it does. Sure, people will denounce this as a huge inconvenience – heck, even I sometimes pay the $0.05 for a plastic bag when I pop in to the grocery store for a spontaneous purchase. I end up using the bags for my garbage. It also will likely lead to an increase in paper bag usage, which really isn’t much better. But this kind of government-driven action is the best and most efficient way to change consumer culture. Much like people got used to paying $0.05 for a plastic bag, people will know be forced to adapt and get used to using reusable bags or other carrying devices. Let the plastic bag rest in peace and let’s find better alternatives for those situations where they are still useful!
Last week’s post, Planning a Green Frugal Wedding – Dishware, was included in a number of blog carnivals including:
- Yakezie Carnival, hosted by 20′s Finances
- Carnival of Money Pros, hosted by Financial Conflict Coach
- Lifestyle Carnival, hosted by Organic Fashion Blog
- Festival of Frugality, hosted by The Frugal Toad
- Carnival of Financial Camaraderie, hosted by My University Money
- Mo’ Money, Mo’ Houses talked about her experience sponsoring a child overseas. I think I would probably hesitate to do this myself as I tend to favour donating time over money.
- I like beer…and I love the money I get back when I return the bottles to the store for recycling. Apparently I’m not the only one, as Sustainable Personal Finance wrote this week.
- A guest poster on Modest Money highlights some of the pros and cons of investing in the stock market.
- Young and Thrifty talks about the financial benefits of waking up early. I don’t care how convincing his argument is, I think I will always be a night person.
- The Outlier Model looks at how to budget for living expenses when living in a city on less than $20,000 a year. Its a tight budget, not sure I could manage it while maintaining the quality of life I desire.
- Thirty Six Months talks about why she dislikes the wedding season. As someone planning a wedding at the moment, I can definitely sympathize with her concerns.
- Digging Out and Up recounts an experience where she learned that banks are trying to infiltrate schools to teach kids about money. I have to agree with her, as much as there is a gap in the school system when it comes to teaching personal finance, I don’t think that the banks are the ones to fill it!
Happy Weekend Everyone! And if you feel like commenting, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Toronto’s plastic bag ban…