Thursday, May 29, 2008

Plastic Piety

The LCBO announced this week that it will no longer be providing customers with plastic (and, I hasten to add, handled bags) to carry away their purchases. David Caplan, the smug jerk-off who is the Ontario Public Infrastructure Minister, and who is therefore in charge of the LCBO, had this to say by way of explanation:

We try as a government to demonstrate the kind of behaviours that we want others to emulate ... Here, with a government agency taking this bold step, we're certainly laying down a challenge for other retailers to take similar kinds of steps.

Note that the other behaviours that this particular government agency would like us to emulate include increased annual alcohol consumption from already record-setting highs, and underage drinking.

But let's be absolutely clear about the stakes involved in this effort of the LCBO's to "improve its environmental image."

1. The LCBO will be saving a bucket-load of cash on the cost of providing free plastic bags for every purchase.

2. The LCBO also stands to make a profit on the sale of its new line of so-called Enviro bags at four bucks a pop. (Given that the average person is not going to remember to bring it with him every time he runs an errand, the LCBO are ensured repeat sales to the same guilt-ridden but deep-pocketed customers.)

3. The LCBO further stands to profit, I contend, from people making repeat purchases of the same bottles because the damn things slipped from their fingers and smashed on the parking lot tarmac outside because they forgot their stupid fucking cloth bags at home, finally refused to go on feeding the racket by buying another, and accepted the totally impractical paper variety instead.

That the LCBO also has succeeded in villifying the poor plastic bag manufacturers is but icing on their soy and recycled toilet paper cake. (That the Plastic Bag Lobby makes a rather good case for using plastic rather than paper is beside the point. In the end it's more about the optics--I mean the symbolism--don't you know.)

'Thing is, I'm just not buying this reasoning that sturdy bags with handles are a luxury item. They are, for a not inconsiderable number of people, an absolute necessity.


ADDENDUM (May 30th)

Jay Currie emails me the obvious point which I managed to miss:
Bags without handles leave those of us who walk struggling with our daily needs. The assumption underlying the silly new rule is that people will have to struggle to their car and drive home. Very green that. It does not take much in a Toronto winter to say, "The Hell with walking, I'll fire up the car." The handleless bags would do it for me - if I owned a car.