A weighty problem
More than 28 million kilograms of plastic bags make their way into landfills in Canada every year, roughly 567 million bags per year
The average Canadian uses 8.8 kilograms of plastic bags per year.
Inflicting long-term damage
The average lifespan of a conventional plastic bags is up to 400 years, which means Canadian landfills will fill up with 227 billion bags before one biodegrades.
25 million plastic bags are produced every year in Canada.
Fuelling oil price wars
Approximately 2 million barrels of petroleum are used in plastic bag production each year in Canada.
Responsible for the destruction of millions of marine mammals
More than 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and birds die each year from eating or becoming entangled in plastic bags.
A nightmare to recycle
Even though many major supermarkets have recycling bins for plastic bags, the city doesn't accept them as part of the Blue Box program because "there are no end markets available to accept them."
17 kilograms of greenhouse-causing sulphur emissions are produced for every 50,000 plastic bags produced.
Plastic bags were eliminated from Toronto's compost program because of concerns about water and soil contamination from chemical residues.
In Canada, fewer than one in 200 plastic bags are recycled.
Contain harmful mercury and other heavy metals that leach into soil, groundwater and streams
Even "biodegradable" or "eco-friendly" bags contain only a small amount of recyclable material - less than 3 per cent.
Also require exposure to the elements to degrade, which doesn't happen when they're buried in landfill.
Addictive to the average consumer
It takes only four grocery shopping trips for the average family to accumulate 60 plastic shopping bags.
Canadians take home more than 55 million plastic bags from grocery and convenience stores every week.
Banned in several countries for littering the streets by the tens of thousands
In South Africa, more than 30,000 bags were collected from the streets in one sweep.
The alarming part
Everybody uses them - plastic bags are cheap and have cornered more than 80 per cent of the market in the 25 years they've been in existence.
They're actually a better alternative than paper, taking 40 per cent less energy to make, generating 80 per cent less solid waste, producing 70 per cent fewer atmospheric emissions.
What we should be doing to free ourselves of our dependence
Place a heavy tax on the use of plastic bags - a 15 per cent tax has resulted in a 95 per cent reduction in the plastic bag waste stream in Ireland.
Use heavier duty reusable bags. Every reusable bag has the potential to eliminate 1,000 more from the waste stream. One fewer grocery bag per person per shopping trip would reduce plastic waste by a million pounds in one year.