Bart Robinson Canmore December 3, 2008

Hello all. . .

Last spring my organization co-hosted a community meeting on the possibility of reducing the use of single-use plastic bags. The example of Ireland's levy came up, at which point a representative from the Alberta Plastics Recycling Council stated that the levy had, in fact, led to an increase in plastic in Ireland's landfills. He said research had shown that many people in Ireland -- like many of us in North America -- used the plastic bags as kitchen garbage can liners, and when the stores started charging for the very lightweight supermarket bags, people simply started buying branded garbage bags, which were heavier weight plastic. The result, he claimed, was in increase by weight of plastic in Irish landfills. In trying to verify the research, I wrote to the Irish government ministry in charge of the levy and received a very nice reply saying no one there had ever heard of it. I then emailed the Irish equivalent of the environmental protection agency, but I haven't, as yet, heard back from them. At other such sessions in other communities, representatives from the Plastics Recycling Council cite the research findings, but when asked specifically about the source, they say, "Oh, it's on the web." I have not been able to find it on the web, and am wondering if any of the folks on this list have heard of the research and can point me to it!

Thanks for your help,
Bart Robinson

Bart Robinson
Program Director
Bow Valley Sustainability Hub
Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley
Suite 201, 600 9th St.,
Canmore, AB T1W 2T2
Phone: 403-678-3445 ext. 1