Halifax considers voluntary ban of single-use plastics
People in Halifax may be seeing far fewer single-use plastics, things like bags, cutlery, straws and cups.
Municipal staff is recommending a voluntary waste-reduction strategy for people and businesses.
You won't find any plastic cups, straws, or bags at Tare, a waste-free cafe and shop in Halifax.
The owner is hoping all businesses follow suit.
“Just in the news the other day, there was a whale that washed up with 115 pieces of plastic in its stomach,” said Tare owner Kate Pepler.
City staff have released a report to the municipality’s environment and sustainability standing committee.
It suggests a voluntary waste-reduction strategy whereby people and businesses would start cutting out single-use plastics.
If that doesn't work, banning single-use plastics could be the next step.
“The more that we can keep out of a landfill, the better,” said shopper Kelly Truslow. “Plastics take generations, and generations to break down.”
One major grocery giant already has a head start. You won’t find plastic bags at the Quinpool Road Superstore.
“You get one of these and you plan ahead,” said Robert Kaye, holding up a cloth shopping bag.
The Ecology Action Centre says it would like to see a ban on single-use plastics take effect immediately.
“If something's important we should regulate it, we don't have voluntary speed limits, we don't have voluntary fire codes,” said Mark Butler of the Ecology Action Centre.
Halifax Regional Coun. Tony Mancini is the chair of the environment and sustainability standing committee.
“We haven't had a chance to debate it,” Mancini said. “We may see a change on that recommendation, and one alternative may be to create that ban and move forward on that.”
The Retail Council of Canada is calling for a provincial solution.
“If we can get any type of grouping of municipal units to act together that would be a good thing,” said Jim Cormier of the Retail Council of Canada.
Until more is discussed, and acted upon, Pepler says she'll keep advocating for waste reduction and encouraging others to do the same.
“Start slow, pick one or two items maybe a week or a month, to start phasing out plastic,” she said.
The city's environment and sustainability standing committee will debate and vote on the staff report at their next meeting in December.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Suzette Belliveau.