With glut of plastic bags at recycling facility, Quispamsis considers ban until market can be found
Quispamsis, N.B., is the latest in a growing list of communities to consider a ban on single use plastic grocery bags.
Prince Edward Island has brought in a province-wide ban and the federal government's moving in that direction, but banning the bags might prove easier than deciding what to do with the ones we already have.
"We have one to two transport truckloads of baled plastic bags waiting to get to market," says Brenda MacCallum of the Fundy Regional Service Commission in Saint John, N.B., pointing to a bale of plastic bags that is ready to be recycled.
It's just a fraction of what they have on site, and they don't have a destination.
For about a year now, the Fundy Regional Service Commission, which serves the greater Saint John area, has been stockpiling the bags waiting for the market to open up so it can send them out for recycling.
"The best ones are basically 1 and 2 containers, number 1 and number 2 and 5, and those ones we have nice secure markets for in Ontario and Quebec," said MacCallum."It's the film plastics, those plastic bags, that are a challenge."
A challenge that dates back to the Chinese ban on most foreign recycling material that left some recycling products -- like these bags -- without a place to go.
Issues like this one aren't going anywhere fast, but some Maritime municipalities are trying to get ahead of it with bans on single-use grocery bags.
"It's a big issue and I think it's something we have to address sooner rather than later," said Emil Olsen of the Quispamsis climate change committee.
The town of Quispamsis is now looking into such a ban.
"We're in the early stages of gathering information," Olsen said. "We're all reading about progress being made in other communities across Canada."
MacCallum says while they are still accepting the bags, that could change.
"Down the road, I wouldn't be surprised if we stop accepting them, but that's not yet," MacCallum said.
The plastic problem persists, with no clear solution in sight.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Lyall.