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EDITORIAL – Does council have the gumption to ban plastic bags?

An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IT SEEMS STRANGE to me, with all the environmental problems we face — climate change, greenhouse gases, air pollution — we can’t figure out what to do about plastic bags.

Not that we aren’t trying. The city of Montreal has banned them, except for carrying things like fresh produce and medications. Victoria is trying to ban them, though the Canadian Plastic Bag Association is challenging it in the courts.

California bans them across the state, as do half the states in Indian and several African and European countries.

The U.K. has cut plastic-bag usage by 85 per cent.

But we have to try harder. It’s estimated that by 2050 the amount of plastic in the oceans will weigh more than all the fish in the sea, and those little plastic bags are a big part of the problem.

Communities struggle to find ways to recycle them. A recent CBC News series called Reduce, Reuse and Rethink, concluded that changing lifestyles have had a dramatic impact on the cost of recycling.

Today’s recycling programs were designed for yesterday’s products, like newspapers, for example. They were easy to recycle, but nobody reads them anymore. Now, recycling programs are all about plastics, which are easily contaminated, more expensive to collect and harder to sort.

And, of course, China won’t take our recycled stuff anymore.

I’m convinced that charging a few pennies for each plastic bag at the till isn’t working, and that the best way to stop the plastic bag tsunami is to just ban the things.

So why doesn’t Kamloops get on the plastic-ban bandwagon even if it will take some time to sort out the legalities? Coun. Arjun Singh pushed for it a dozen years ago. Is there anyone on council now with the stones to take up the torch?

Is there enough public support to help convince them? I leave that question to you.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (5866 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on EDITORIAL – Does council have the gumption to ban plastic bags?

  1. We now have at least a half dozen grocery bags and always try to refuse plastic bags.My wife is in the habit of taking our own bag. We still have amongst us unfortunately those that just don,t give a damn.

  2. There are thousands of plastic one use products.The packaging of all of them should be banned. Mac Donalds uses more plastic in one day than all the rest.There are paper substititues for all of them.Lets get on the “BANWAGON ” and tell city hall that recycling of all plastics must be resumed and all single use plastics must be stopped as well

  3. Bonita Anhalt // April 10, 2018 at 1:07 PM // Reply

    How do you bag your garbage ? Your not to put loose in city garbage containers! Are we to buy very expensive plastic bags to do this job?still-will end up in same place Find a new way to dispose of 🏠 household waste without requiring it to be baged in plastic first

  4. ” So why doesn’t Kamloops get on the plastic-ban bandwagon even if it will take some time to sort out the legalities? Coun. Arjun Singh pushed for it a dozen years ago. Is there anyone on council now with the stones to take up the torch? ”

    The answer to that is NO. I use cloth bags, but only because I refuse to pay any amount, no matter how small , for the plastic ones. After awhile, the plastic ones grow in number , and you just have to take them to be recycled anyway.

  5. I wonder if anyone is doing anything about removing the “plastic bags islands” floating in the oceans…just asking. At the grasslands clean-up this past Sunday I have picked more Tim Horton disposable cups than any other form of garbage. A token effort from council is not enough, a whole re-think is required.

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