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Banning plastic bags easier said than done

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Toronto is banning plastic bags.  Seattle banned them as of yesterday. But what about us? Experts say getting rid of single-use bags isn’t as easy as you think.

It’s complicated says Christianne Wilhelmson with the Georgia Strait Alliance.

If governments are going to ask us to get rid of bags like those many of us use to put our groceries in or what our dog leaves behind, they have to do two very important things.

“One of them is to just educate about why plastic bags are harmful,” explains Wilhelmson. “The other piece is what are people going to use instead? There are tons of solutions but you have to ensure people have access to them.”

Wilhelmson says what went down in Ireland is a perfect example of what happens when there’s a breakdown in the process.

“Instead they saw an increase in plastic use because people buy more kitchen catchers to use in their garbage and they were buying big garbage plastic bags to carry things home. Those bags are much thicker so, in fact, the use of plastics went up.”

Wilhelmson says changing behaviour takes time and believes we all want to do the right thing, we just need a little help.