Many details still need to be worked out for plastic bag ban
A ban on plastic bags in Halifax isn't in the bag yet.
The municipality is moving in that direction but there are still many details that need to be worked out.
In the meantime, supporters believe what's important is a united front if we are going to make single-use plastic bags a thing of the past.
“When you're talking 300 to 500 million plastic bags, in a province -- and that’s every year -- in a province as small as Nova Scotia, that's not really small potatoes,” said Halifax Regional Coun. Lisa Blackburn. “It is a first step in what is going to be a long journey in changing our behaviours in order to protect the environment.”
At the city’s environment and sustainability committee meeting Thursday, Blackburn joined her colleagues and endorsed a ban on plastic bags by this time next year.
Supporters say they were hoping this ban would come from the province, instead of individual municipalities.
“We will continue to pressure municipalities to say look, please step up where the province didn't,” said Jim Cormier, Atlantic Director for Retail Council of Canada.“The province did not take a leadership position on this. We're not happy with that, but we still need to find a solution.”
Kaiser’s sub and sandwich shop in Lower Sackville has already moved away from plastic bags. They still have them, but say making the switch would be easy for the business.
But some would like to see the evidence first.
“I think that they should really study it like they did the stadium,” said Rick Baker of
Kaiser's.“Just study it really well. Because I think there's going to be a lot of people opposed to it.”
Some customers at Kaiser’s offered their viewpoints on the proposed ban.
“I think I'd like to keep at least the paper bags for starting out, and get rid of the plastic is fine,” said one man.
Another customer liked the ban as a way to control litter.
“It saves on plastic bags being uselessly thrown out in the ditches and stuff, so I think it's a good thing,” he said.
This is what Blackburn is hoping to hear from residents.
“For the vast majority of us, who just use the plastic shopping bag to get groceries from point A to point B, you can make the change,” Blackburn said.
Now, the environment committee is waiting for a report that will outline some of the specifics of the change.
They will also work with the 10 largest municipalities in the province to draft the bylaw that Halifax Regional Council will vote on.
With this potential ban, there are still many unknowns.
What type of bags will be included in the ban?
How will exceptions work for things like grocery items that need bags for sanitary reasons?
And also, how much will it cost HRM to make the switch?
Those are all questions that council will have to debate once a bylaw is drafted up.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.