While we work together to lobby for legislation on plastic bags, there's plenty to be done on the ground level by curbing our own plastic use. And it's not that hard! Here are some simple, straightforward steps that are easy to take on,

 

1. Refuse

Choose to decline plastic bags. If you're at the grocery store, don't use the plastic produce bags, put the produce directly in your cart. If possible, hand carry your items out. Bring your own bag, use a box, and tell your cashier that you are cutting back on plastics. Often, store employees are told to bag products in separate plastic bags, doubling up bag use. 

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2. Reuse

BYOB! Bring your own reusable bags instead. This tip is all about habit. To set yourself up for success, keep reusable grocery bags in your car or by your front door. Plan before you head to the store.  Keep a foldable reusable bag in your purse or backpack. Plastic bags are a convenience item - don't let yourself be caught without a bag! A reusable bag can carry more and heavier loads than plastic bags, you'll need far fewer reusable bags for your regular haul. 

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3. Recycle

Learn the proper protocol for recycling bags you already have, or any incidental plastic bags you wind up with, but remember the inefficiency and low recycling rate. 

  • Bundle clean bags in a see-through or transparent plastic bag (also one that stretches). Tie the bundled bag closed by tying handles together or knotting bag at top. Do not use elastics or twist ties.
  • Put plastic bags that don't stretch, such as cereal or cracker bags, in your black cart as garbage.
  • If you're not sure if a bag is stretchy, put in your black cart as garbage. 

By bundling your bags into one bag, it allows the workers to separate properly for recycling. Loose plastic bags fly around, get stuck in other quality recyclables and jam equipment at the recycling facility. Please note that loose/single bags put in the blue cart are not recycled and end up landfilled. City of Calgary

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If you have surplus reusable bags, Green Calgary's Bag Share program accepts donations of reusable bags for use by community members looking to reduce their dependence on single use bags.

4. Educate

Understanding the problem is one of the first steps to finding a solution. Educate yourself on the impact plastic bags are having on our environment, our wildlife, and our own health. Further resources are available online and here

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5. Lead By Example

By politely declining bags, you're sending a message to cashiers and business owners that the issue is important to you. By carrying your reusable bags, you're role modeling being a better consumer to those around you. Talk about the issue with those around you, help change minds and raise awareness. 

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6. Voice Your Concern

Let politicians, lawmakers, businesses and local legislation know you care about plastic bags and their effect on the environment. We've drafted a simple email for you to reach out to your local councillor, our mayor, and environment minister. Find our petition here and sign.

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7. Get Involved

Volunteer, advocate, and help raise awareness. Spread Ban the Bag YYC via instagram, facebook, twitter, and join our upcoming activities and let's show Calgary cares about plastic in the environment.