The best single-use plastic bag alternatives; Air Canada bans pets from cargo: CBC’s Marketplace cheat sheet

Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace has rounded up the consumer and health news you need.

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What’s the best alternative to a single-use plastic bag? It depends

Single-use plastic bags will soon be a thing of the past in Canada. But choosing the best alternative still isn’t necessarily an easy decision for consumers.

The challenge for eco-conscious shoppers is that alternatives to single-use plastic bags also leave an environmental footprint.

The number of times a reusable bag is used is one crucial factor in determining its environmental footprint, a 2020 study by the UN Environment Program found.

On the lower end, a paper bag needs to be used four to eight times to have less impact on the climate than a single-use plastic bag. Meanwhile, a cotton bag needs to be used 50 to 150 times to be environmentally superior, according to the study.

One of the best options for shoppers may even be to skip the bag altogether whenever possible, said Tony Walker, an associate professor of environmental studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

“Reducing consumption of anything and everything is key because everything requires resources and energy to produce,” said Walker, who advised the federal government on its Zero Plastic Waste Agenda and Oceans Plastics Charter. Read more

Canadians will need to find alternatives to the ubiquitous grocery checkout bag after the federal government announced it is banning some single-use plastic items. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Air Canada bans pets from travelling in cargo hold until mid-September

If you haven’t already put in a request, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to bring the family pet on vacation this summer if you’re flying with Air Canada.

The airline said on Wednesday that it has stopped accepting new requests for pets to travel in the baggage compartment of its flights until Sept. 12, as major airports around the country face travel delays, flight cancellations and logistical challenges.

Small animals will still be allowed in the cabins of most flights, provided they can lie down in a carrier under the seat in front of the passenger.

Bringing a pet in the cabin will cost $50 for flights within Canada and the United States (excluding Hawaii), the airline said, and $100 for international flights.

“Due to current airport delays, for the safety and comfort of pets, we will not be accepting new requests for pets travelling in the baggage compartment until Sept. 12, 2022,” Air Canada said via email in response to questions from CBC News.

All previously made bookings will be honoured, the airline added. Read more

American Airlines crews unload a dog from the cargo area of an arriving flight in New York in 2012. Air Canada is stopping new requests for transporting pets in the cargo holds of its planes until mid-September. (Mary Altaffe/The Associated Press)

Real estate prices are falling in Canada’s two biggest markets. Here’s why

The price of homes may have skyrocketed in much of Canada during the pandemic, but recent developments point to a market that is coming back down to earth. 

The slowdown underway in Canada’s two most expensive housing markets continued in June, with new numbers showing the number of homes sold in Toronto and Vancouver fell by more than a third, and average prices have now declined for several months in a row. 

As was the case in many parts of Canada, house prices in and around Toronto exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, as record-low interest rates allowed buyers to stretch their budgets to buy more expensive homes. But that trend changed direction abruptly in March, when the Bank of Canada started to hike interest rates.

The impact on the market was almost immediate, as sales and new listings slowed, and the bidding wars that were once commonplace began to vanish, as buyers could afford to be choosier.

“Home sales have been impacted by both the affordability challenge presented by mortgage rate hikes and the psychological effect wherein homebuyers who can afford higher borrowing costs have put their decision on hold to see where home prices end up,” Toronto Regional Real Estate Board president Kevin Crigger said. Read more

A home for sale in Toronto in June 2022. Average selling prices of homes in the Greater Toronto Area have fallen by 14 per cent since February. (Esteban Cuevas/CBC)

What else is going on?

Rogers and Shaw say merger talks with Competition Bureau are going nowhere
The regulator has been trying to block the merger, arguing that it would result in less choice for Canadians and lead to higher bills for consumers.

Some Canadian winemakers say new federal program eases sting of 4% tax’s return
There are hopes Agriculture Canada’s program means consumers likely won’t pay more for now to cover tax.

Soaring costs for food, energy push 71 million more people worldwide into poverty: UN agency
More than 51 million fell into extreme poverty in first 3 months of war in Ukraine.

Marketplace needs your help

We’re going on a shopping trip and want to hear from you!  What drives you to shop at a certain store?  Does the music or store layout play a factor?  And have you noticed your clothing size changes depending on where you shop? We want to hear your stories. Email us at [email protected].

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