A Kamloops city councillor hopes the city continues work on banning businesses from using single-use plastic bags, following an announcement this week by the federal government to phase-out single-use plastics across the country.
Coun. Dale Bass said many questions remain in light of Monday’s announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, such as whether a federal ban would apply to all companies or only federally regulated businesses.
Bass also noted it is an election year.
“I would hope that we [the city] would continue along the path that we’ve started on,” Bass said, referring to Kamloops council’s intention to ban point-of-sale single-use plastic bags in the city.
On Monday, the federal government announced steps to ban single-use plastics — including bags, straws, cutlery, plates and stir sticks — as early as 2021. Trudeau said Ottawa would work with provinces and territories on standards and targets for companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging, making them responsible for their plastic waste. The government said more than three-million tonnes of plastic is tossed every year by Canadians, with about one-third of plastics used for single-use or short-lived products and packaging. Up to 15-billion plastic bags are used annually and about 57-million straws are used daily.
"Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution and are tired of seeing their beaches, parks, streets and shorelines littered with plastic waste,” Trudeau said. “We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce plastic pollution, protect the environment and create jobs and grow our economy. We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come.”
Bass said she will be watching the federal rollout with interest and praised the initiative for including straws and cutlery, which she had hoped council would also have supported when she made the original motion for staff to look into the plastic bag ban.
“It’ll be interesting to see,” she said.
The city is consulting with those affected by plastic bag ban, with a report expected to return to council in July on feedback from local businesses and more. Bass said large and small businesses have so far been supportive of the initiative. The city is working off of a template created by Victoria, which includes some exceptions for use of plastic in areas such as dry cleaning.
— with a file from Canadian Press