An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE UPHILL BATTLE against plastic is amply demonstrated by the draft bylaw going in front of Kamloops City council this week.
Council deserves credit for moving toward a ban on single-use take-out plastic bags in grocery stores and the like.
Under the proposed bylaw — which will go out for public consultation over the next few months — customers could bring their own reusable bags or the business could sell them paper or reusable bags.
It’s a good first step but exceptions outlined in the bylaw show how difficult a challenge it is.
The bylaw as proposed doesn’t include bags used for such things as nails and bolts, frozen foods, flowers, prescription drugs, laundered clothing and several other items.
Among them are bulk items like fruit and vegetables. Those flimsy bags, which we pull down and tear off from rolls in the produce department, account for a lot of the non-recyclable plastics we carry home.
But how would we eliminate those bags and still avoid bacterial contamination? Very few jurisdictions are even attempting it. Hopefully, reusable produce bags will come into vogue.
But what about another much-used and heavily promoted plastic bag, one not mentioned in the bylaw? The doggie-poop bag has become accepted as a necessity. Shame on the dog owner who doesn’t carry a plastic doggie bag in his or her pocket when out walking with Fido.
Those bags are biodegradable, aren’t they? Sadly, their degree of biodegradability has come into scientific question. Experts say some claims are exaggerated, others need conditions to be just right.
Will they and produce bags eventually be banned along with the rest? Maybe. Or maybe we’ll develop better alternatives.
Getting rid of plastic grocery carry-out bags is a good start. But it’s only a start.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.