I used to think I was like everyone else. I’d walk into the grocery store, start filling the cart or the basket, and realize that I left my reusable bags in the trunk of my car.
Do I go back and get the bags. Nah. A paper bag is just a few cents, right?
And so, the collection of paper and reusable bags grows.
But, a recent study from the City of Edmonton’s administration indicates that I’m in the minority. Now that plastic bags have been banned, and a City bylaw requires you to pay 15 cents for a paper bag, or a loonie for a reusable sack, we’ve become better and better at prepping before we shop.
A City study showed that 73.4 per cent of Edmontonians always or “almost” always remember to bring reusable bags with them when they shop. The waste survey of more than 7,000 Edmontonians was discussed by the City’s Utility Committee this past week.
The fees for bags are set to be raised to 25 cents for paper and a toonie for reusable bags in July. That price hike was previously approved by city council, and has been public since the summer of 2023. The committee saw no reason to change course from that decision.
The money doesn’t go to the City. It’s not a tax. It’s a requirement for retailers to sell the bags, and not give them away. They are encouraged to use any profits on bags on environmental causes, but they are free to do with the money as they wish.
Sean Stepchuk, the co-founder of Waste Free Edmonton, urged the city councillors on the Utility Committee to stay the course with the scheduled hike on bag prices.