The All About Bags website has been compiled by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association as a resource tool for the debate about bags. It provides global information and research to frame the debate and assist in the decision-making process.
Plastic bags have been the subject of considerable research and study and some of the most credible data comes from government studies in Scotland and the U.K.. Their findings are most instructive.
This is a complex issue with no easy answers. All bags, whether used as carry bags or to manage household waste, have environmental impacts. We believe that any decision related to the environment must be based on science and fact and look at the intended and unintended consequences of that decision.
All About Bags has been designed to address the common myths and provide facts and data. One example is “bags should biodegrade in landfill” when in fact modern landfills are engineered to prevent degradation – to avoid the creation of greenhouse gases like methane which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Twenty percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by fugitive emissions from landfills. Further, plastic bags in Canada are made from natural gas, not oil.
The Canadian plastic bag industry is made up of largely Canadian, family-owned companies. Ninety percent of the plastic bags used here are made locally. It is our contention that plastic shopping bags are not an environmental problem in Canada because Canadians (citizens, retailers, municipalities, recyclers, and the plastics industry) take their responsibility for the environment and product stewardship very seriously.
Canada is also a leader in North America on recycling innovations, so collection and recycling rates are high and growing. Canadians do not need to look beyond our borders for leadership on product stewardship. What we continue to need is made in Canada solutions that respect this commitment to product stewardship and the 3 Rs (reuse, reduce and recycle).