ROTHENBURGER: Federal plastics ban good news for the environment

Justin Trudeau. (Image: Angus Reid Institute)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IF WE TAKE THE POLITICS out of reaction to Justin Trudeau’s announcement that he’ll ban single-use plastics by 2021 if he’s re-elected, there’s much to be excited about.

Some critics say it should happen sooner. Some say it’s an empty pre-election promise. Others say it’s worthless because it’s devoid of details.

Au crontraire. If Trudeau had come out with a comprehensive plan outlining exactly what will be banned and when, he’d have been accused of dictatorial politics. It will take time to consult with the various stakeholders and gain consensus.

As long as obstructionists don’t gain too much leverage, it’s the right way to go.

The federal initiative is more a case of the feds giving a push to a bandwagon that’s already slowly moving forward than it is of creating one. Public opinion, which until only recently was ambivalent on the matter, is rapidly shifting to something of a groundswell on the side of a ban. Even businesses, which might be expected to resist it, are getting onside.

A growing number of municipalities are already creating their own bylaws but the involvement of the federal government will bring consistency and immediacy to solving what has become a truly frightening environmental problem.

Local governments are trying to figure out which plastics to ban and how to enforce such a ban, a situation that would gradually create a hodgepodge of regulation across the country.

They’ll be happy to get this contentious issue off their plates and leave it to Ottawa. That should not, however, deter Kamloops City council from moving forward with its own ban as an interim measure in case the federal bad gets derailed.

Nevertheless, Monday’s announcement is good news for the environment.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (7577 Articles) 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 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.

3 Comments on ROTHENBURGER: Federal plastics ban good news for the environment

  1. R A George // June 16, 2019 at 8:59 AM // Reply

    A little post script here! I kicked a bale out of the old Vicon,shut down the tractor and went in for lunch. Half an hour later there was a great explosion.We ran out and there was my old baler,along with the bale fully engulfed in flame and black smoke. To make a short story shorter I,m going to miss that old baler.We traveled many a mile together.The tractor,an old Romanian Universal that we purchased at the same time survived.

  2. R A George // June 15, 2019 at 6:52 AM // Reply

    I,m still farming, Almost the old way you could say. I don,t make square bales anymore. Too heavy, So I now make 4 x 5 round bales,and in fact have done so for 25 years on a now well used and she shows it, Vicon 1200. As I travel the highways and byways and see all those wrapped bales of hay in white,silage in blue,I wonder where all that plastic ends up. It,s well past time for more responsibily and more simple pole hay sheds.We have a pellet furnace. It,s a pellet world for many of us and for many of us old folks a reminder of the old sawdust furnace.” Bobby,have you been pissing in the sawdust again?” When yu gotta go yu gotta go. Acctually I,ve returned to those sudden urges.Pellets! Pellets are extremely well wrapped with reams of clear plastic and all covered with a big plastic sock with the manufacturers logo.I make tarps to cover up all my junk with those.Junk! A big problem on the farm.
    Fertilzer bags, They hold a ton and are very large and heavily constucted and as advertised in bold print,unreturnable?To the dump to the dump.
    All of this foolishness must stop soon. I can see the Martians examining all this crap as they excavate and wondering what is all this stuff.
    For such intelligent beings we are extremely short in smarts.

    • Mel Rothenburger // June 15, 2019 at 7:55 AM // Reply

      Hay-bale wrap and binder twine continue to be a recycling challenge but they’re on the radar. I use the binder twine for a whole lot of things that I might normally use rope for. And at least feed bags are now recyclable. Baby steps.

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