Alan Harrison sees a day when plastic bags are no longer an option for carrying your groceries home.
At the inaugural meeting of council on Monday, Nov. 5, Salmon Arm’s new mayor announced how with the implementation of curbside organic waste collection on July 1, he plans to introduce legislation banning single-use plastic grocery bags at local stores.
The announcement, Harrison explained during a subsequent Observer interview, came in part from workshops he attended on waste management at this year’s Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention in Halifax.
“The Nova Scotia government has really implemented legislation that helps municipalities to zero waste…,” said Harrison. “In many communities across the country, that legislation is being considered or is in place,” he said . “So that’s kind of where the idea came from.
“I think we need something where everybody can do a little bit to help. It might be a little bit of an inconvenience but that’s OK because I think it’s the right thing to do”
Harrison said consultation will occur with local retailers beforehand, but adds it’s not an new idea, pointing out how many now charge for plastic bags at checkout.
Askew’s Foods president David Askew sees and supports the transition already moving to re-usable bags, but urges if plastic bags are banned that paper should also be removed from checkout counters.
“It’s not clear to me that, if you’re talking about paper as a substitute, that it’s any better than plastic,” said Askew, who used to work in the plastics business for DuPont Canada. “The plastic that goes into plastic bags, it’s just carbon and hydrogen and there’s nothing toxic in it. It’s only a problem when it gets dumped into lakes and rivers and so on… I think if you’re really looking at the environment, you also need to look at the impact of paper bags and ban both of them so everybody is using a reusable bag.”
Harrison said he doesn’t wish to inconvenience grocery stores or shoppers.
“That’s not the idea at all. The idea is to make the world environment better. And it’s doable. And every consumer needs to do their part,” said Harrison.
“Sometimes my wife and I, when we go grocery shopping, sometimes we forget our reusable bags, so that’s a solution that we need to work on with grocery stores; is it going to be paper, is it going to be something that’s compostable? But it’s not going to be plastic.”