Many welcome plastics ban, but wonder about best way to make it work
Published Monday, June 10, 2019 10:01PM ADT
Maritimers are weighing in on the government's proposal to ban single-use plastics and asking a lot of questions.
Most agree it's good news for the environment, but say the challenge will be actually making it happen.
The Halifax waterfront is the place to be for a take-out lunch on a sunny day, and there's positive reaction to the idea of banning single-use plastics.
“The use of that could be so much less,” said Tatiana Kichigina.“If we use wood, or chopsticks, I love chopsticks.”
But there are also questions.
“I could see you doing it, but I guess everybody's question would be ‘what do you replace it with, what do people use?’” said Joe Griffin.
For businesses that do a lot of take out, that question is the key.
One barbecue restaurant had already switched to more environmentally friendly -- albeit more costly -- cutlery.
While the owner says a ban is definitely good for the planet, it poses challenges.
“The issue right now is finding items to replace those single-use plastics with and finding the companies that have the products that you can get in easily that aren't going to be super-crazy expensive,” said Cindy Wheatley, the owner of Boneheads on Barrington Street in Halifax.
Luc Erjavec is the regional vice-president of Restaurants Canada. He says “more and more customers are demanding take out food, so it's important for us to balance the wishes of the customers in a financially sustainable manner.”
Some levels of government were already working on their own plastic bans. The city of Halifax, for example, has committed to draft a plastic bag bylaw for council's consideration by December. That plan, the city says, still stands.
Prince Edward Island's bill to ban single-use plastic bags still comes into effect July 1.
For the Retail Council of Canada, the idea of a federal ban is welcome, but, it wants more details.
“You need to understand, before you make these types of decisions, what are the types of plastic that are completely necessary, and what's avoidable?” said Jim Cormier, the Atlantic Director of the Retail Council of Canada.
An environmental sciences professor says the challenge is finding alternatives.
“For example, a cigarette butt, that's made of plastic but at the moment there's no marketable or commercial alternative,” said Tony Walker. “But, if there's a market opportunity, I'm sure industry will fill the gap.”
With less than 10 per cent of plastic used in Canada making it into the recycling bin -- it's a change many Canadians agree has to happen; it's just a question of how.
Of course, many consumers and retailers have already been reducing their use of plastics. Some stores decided to stop using plastic bag years ago, but there are so many more single-use plastics out there, like garbage bags and food containers, there are a lot of details to be worked out, but environmental experts say we can't afford not to do this.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.