School Lunch Bags – Follow Up

Blog, Environment, Les Routledge

Previously, David posted an article about the flap in Quebec on socially-appropriate school lunch containers.

The feature in today’s National Post got me thinking about my own use of plastic bags and how that related to environmental sustainability.

Back in the dark ages of disco when I was in school, I recall that I re-used both paper lunch bags and plastic sandwich bags all the time.  My parents, who had grown up in the depression, instilled in me an ethic not to throw away things that could be reused.  As a result, those paper and plastic lunch bags usually lasted at least a week (and yes, the plastic bag was washed and disinfected before being reused).  While that practice did carry some teasing from for schoolmates, it was one that made sense to me at the time.

Today, I still reuse plastic bags again and again.  I really appreciate the plastic bags that I get with my cold cuts at the store because they have a zip lock and are ideal sandwich and freezer bags.  They are also used to keep cheese and other perishable goods fresh in the refrigerator for longer periods of time and thus reduce the amount of spoiled food in our household.

Plastic grocery bags always get reused around this house and farm.  They have many uses including wrapping dog meat that is placed in the freezer, being reused as lunch bags when I am working in the field, or storing parts at the shop.  They are reused a third time to line garbage cans around the house.  As a result, we have never purchase small kitchen catcher bags.

The actions of the misguided teacher in the article are replicated in this province by busy-body activists who are certain that plastic shopping bags need to be banned.  Not only will that action cost me more money for re-usable cloth tote bags, but it will also cost me more money to purchase new plastic bags for other needs.

No government should contemplate banning plastic shopping bags.  If they want to encourage or mandate a small recycling fee that is charged at the point of purchase, that is acceptable to me.  A blanket ban goes too far.