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Opinion: Vancouver's single-use item 'ban' offers help for lazy bastards

The shine of paper bags wears off pretty quick when hauling them in the rain
shopping-bags-in-the-1950s
In the 1950s families didn't care so much about recycling as they do today

"Did you bring the bags?" is a question I've been providing the incorrect answer to at least twice a week over the past couple of years, ever since my wife bought me my own reusable shopping bags which I'm supposed to remember to bring when I go grocery shopping. However the City of Vancouver's new ban on single-use items has finally, once and for all, got me saying "yes, of course" more often than not this year.

While there are some serious flaws with the way the policy to reduce the amount of single-use items is being rolled out (fast food franchisees standing to make tens of millions of dollars off of paper cup and bag fees being but one) the main policy - banning plastic bags and plastic labelled or described as compostable, degradable, or made from biological materials are banned outright - is a positive move.

Like the green bin program that was implemented for duplexes and houses in 2013, while at first it might seem like a pain in the neck, in time it will eventually just become a part of life - one that's helping to divert stuff from the landfill.

Some grocery stores such as Save-On-Foods have opted to offer customers 1950s-style paper bags with no handles, and it could be argued that this move is helping move things along.

For years their counterparts at Whole Foods have served lazy bastards like me (people who have traditionally forgotten to bring their bags and won't go home to get them once they've left) by supplying us with convenient paper bags with handles.

Hauling home paper bags with no handles, like I did on January 1 and 2 of this year, offers an immersive and nostalgic look at what it must have felt like to shop decades ago. However, that shine quickly wears off as the bags get soggy, and harder to handle. Plus the functionality of being able to hold a handle beneath your waist as opposed to around your abdomen is hard to explain, but it feels like a chore. And nobody likes chores.

Nobody likes climate change and plastic bags making their way into our rivers, lakes, and oceans either.

So ultimately, this is a good policy, handles or not.

Let's fix the flaws in it though, okay City Hall?