Bakers Journal

News
It’s in the bag


December 5, 2008
By Brian Hartz

Dec. 5, 2008 – Earlier this week the Toronto city council voted in a rule that would ban the sale of bottled water at city hall and force consumers to pay 5 cents for every throwaway plastic shopping bag they take home from retail outlets. I won’t go into the first part of the new measure except to say it seems a common-sense move, especially because bottled water is, essentially, the same as tap water, of which the City of Toronto is huge purveyor. The shopping bag crackdown, on the other hand, doesn’t go far enough. Five cents is a pretty meager amount of money these days, and won’t do much to discourage the use of these plastic bags.

What do you think about Toronto’s move to crack down on plastic shopping bags? How will it affect your business? Do you anticipate having to explain the situation to angry customers? If you’re not in Toronto, do you support or oppose a similar rule in your town or city? Let us know by leaving a comment or voting in our new poll.

Earlier this week the Toronto city council voted in a rule that would ban the sale of bottled water at city hall and force consumers to pay 5 cents for every throwaway plastic shopping bag they take home from retail outlets. I won’t go into the first part of the new measure except to say it seems a common-sense move, especially because bottled water is, essentially, the same as tap water, of which the City of Toronto is huge purveyor. The shopping bag crackdown, on the other hand, doesn’t go far enough. Five cents is a pretty meager amount of money these days, and won’t do much to discourage the use of these plastic bags.

When I was living in New Zealand, I always did my grocery shopping at a discount supermarket chain called Pak N Save. At Pak N Save, not only were you encouraged to bring your own bags, but also pack those bags yourself. If you didn’t bring any bags, you could buy them for 10 cents apiece. Most Pak N Save outlets would also put their empty cardboard boxes near the checkouts for customers to use if they didn’t bring bags and didn’t want to pay extra – an admirable if somewhat puzzling habit when viewed from a strict cost-benefit analysis. They could be making money off those plastic bags, but instead they offered a consumer- and environment-friendly alternative. However, such sacrifice only served to increase my loyalty to Pak N Save.

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When people go to the supermarket to do their weekly grocery shopping, they generally plan ahead, and that involves making lists and, often, bringing reusable bags. However, it’s probably safe to assert that visits to the local bakery to pick up some bread or pastries are often more spontaneous, and customers might become upset at having to pay extra for something that has been taken for granted for decades. Judging by the results of our recent poll about banning non-recyclable paper coffee cups, many of you are in favour of laws and rules that promote environmentally friendly packaging. What do you think about Toronto’s move to crack down on plastic shopping bags? How will it affect your business? Do you anticipate having to explain the situation to angry customers? If you’re not in Toronto, do you support or oppose a similar rule in your town or city? Let us know by leaving a comment or voting in our new poll.


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