FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 16, 2018
K’JIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – The Ecology Action Centre (EAC) is encouraging Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) Council to support a ban on single use plastic bags and to endorse Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for thin film plastics.
The environmental charity says EPR, which makes manufacturers responsible for the products they make, will provide a solution for thin film plastic not covered by a plastic bag ban.
Today, HRM Councillors will consider a staff report on plastic bags and thin film plastic. The report recommends engaging with the Province and other Nova Scotian municipalities as well as continuing to investigate options for bags. Specifically, elimination, reduction and education.
“Like the Municipality, we would like to see the Provincial Government take the lead and implement a comprehensive approach to reducing our use of plastics including a Province-wide ban on plastic bags,” says Mark Butler, EAC Policy Director. “However, if the Province doesn’t act, Halifax Municipality should move on its own.”
Other Canadian cities such as Montreal and Victoria have implemented plastic bag bans. So have entire countries, such as France and Ireland, with recent initiatives in Chile and a growing number of countries moving to restrict single use plastics all together.
In Halifax, the Superstore on Quinpool Road hasn’t been providing plastic bags to its customers for almost a decade, and other private sector initiatives have tackled reducing plastic straw use.
If a province-wide ban is passed, Nova Scotia would be the first province in Canada to ban plastic bags.
“Nova Scotia could take a lead in Canada on reducing plastic,” says Susanna Fuller, Senior Marine Coordinator at the EAC. “There is mounting evidence of the impact of plastic in our ocean, and as a coastal province with a heavy reliance on our marine environment for our culture and economy, we need to take action on reducing the flow of waste into our environment.”
But the EAC says banning the bags is just one part of the solution, and comprehensive action should be considered.
“We know that there are viable alternatives to single-use plastic bags that are acceptable to consumers,” Butler says. “But there are many other film plastics that are used by consumers and the commercial and industrial sectors for which we do not have viable alternatives and for which recycling markets are very weak. For these, we need EPR whereby manufacturers take the lead in developing programs and markets, as has been done in other provinces and other countries for plastics and other materials”.
EPR programs have been implemented across Canada, and provincial governments committed to taking action collectively in 2009. In Nova Scotia, electronics are recycled under EPR programs.
“We also recognize that the province and municipality will need support from federal governments,” says Fuller. “We are advocating that the federal government develop a National Plastics Strategy that will help meet global commitments to plastic reduction.”
For Nova Scotian’s looking to take action while the city and Province consider next steps, Butler says, “It’s time to remember and reaffirm the 5 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot(Compost).”
This morning, and in response to significant public support, the EAC launched a petition in support of a ban on plastic bags and for EPR. The petition can be found online at ecologyaction.ca/plastic.
Ecology Action Centre EPR Submission: https://ecologyaction.ca/files/images-documents/file/Built_Environment/SolidWaste2014.pdf
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For further information, please contact:
Policy Director, Ecology Action Centre
Susanna Fuller, Senior Marine Coordiantor, Ecology Action Centre