Single use plastics have a huge impact on the environment. Photo: Masha Kotliarenko on Unsplash

Single use plastics have a huge impact on the environment. Photo: Masha Kotliarenko on Unsplash

Wildsight backs federal plastics ban

The federal government has proposed a new ban on some hard-to-recycle single-use plastics

The federal government has unveiled a proposed ban on certain single-use plastics, in a move that local environmental group Wildsight has applauded as a good step in the right direction.

“The approach that the federal government has taken appears to be a fairly logical one,” said Elk Valley Wildsight coordinator, Randal Macnair.

“We produce three million tonnes of plastic waste every year. While we like to try and feel good and put a lot of it in our recycling, the reality is that only a portion of that is actually recycled.”

The ban that would be introduced by the government applies to six items that are hard to recycle: plastic checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and food ware, which Macnair described as “the worst offenders” of plastics waste.

Macnair said it was heartening to see the government following the will of the people.

“A lot of people have put a lot of effort into reducing use of things like plastic grocery checkout bags and straws – these sort of grassroots campaigns came before. It’s nice to see the government trying to catch up to where the public will is.”

The situation in the Elk Valley was receptive towards reducing plastics as seen in previous initiatives to reduce use of single-use checkout bags and straws, said Macnair.

“I really think that a lot of businesses took real leadership on it and got on board, and that was really positive to see.

“The business community in the valley and the population as a whole are pretty sensible as far as much of this is concerned.”

Macnair added that the proposed federal ban was on the low-hanging fruit however.

“I think we all feel good by not taking the plastic grocery bags, and that’s a step, but if you look inside your grocery bag, you’re probably going to find styrofoam and plastic.

“(The ban) is a step, but there’s a lot more work to do.”

The ban of the plastics listed above is only a part of the federal program designed to set Canada on a path to “zero plastic waste by 2030”, with proposals to improve plastic recovery and recycling programs and new recycled content requirements.

Comments on the proposed ban and regulations on plastics and recycling will be open until Dec. 9, 2020, with regulations to be finalised by the end of 2021.

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