City of Edmonton document provides new details on plastic bags, plastic straw and styrofoam ban

EDMONTON –

The city of Edmonton is set to ban several single-use items and impose fees for other items commonly thrown in the trash, and a new city document has revealed details of how it could work.

Under the proposed rules, plastic shopping bags would be banned, along with plastic straws and polystyrene cups and containers.

Customers are also expected to pay a minimum charge of 25 cents for disposable cups, a minimum charge of 15 cents for paper bags, and a $ 1 charge for reusable bags.

“This means that fewer single-use items will be thrown away as trash or thrown in the trash, bringing us closer to our goal of diverting 90% of waste from landfill,” the report said.

In an effort to reduce the amount of trash in Edmonton, city council previously asked administrators to study a new bylaw and how it might align with a similar federal ban announced in 2020.

The “backgrounder” report states that around 450 million single-use items (SUI) are thrown away each year in the city, including more than 100 million take-out containers, 119 million utensils and 92 million of plastic bags.

“The production, consumption and disposal of SUI have environmental, social and economic impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions, consumption of natural resources and water pollution. “

The document is part of the city’s 25-year waste strategy aimed at a “zero waste future”.

FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS COMING IN 2022

The report’s proposals are being used in consultations with stakeholders, and the final rules have not been approved.

The plan is still under debate and the bylaw will not be passed until councilors and the public have a chance to review the details in a public hearing in 2022.

“The City of Edmonton is discussing with businesses, event planners, charitable food service providers and other organizations the draft recommendations and how the city can support their transition to less energy use. EUI, “the document reads.

The report suggests “voluntary measures” such as companies only offering utensils, napkins and ketchup packages to customers who request them.

Accommodations would be made for people with disabilities.

Restaurants will also be encouraged to use reusable tableware and accept containers that customers bring, but this will not be mandatory, and paper or cardboard food containers would still be permitted at no charge.

THE PLAN COULD GO FURTHER: EDMONTON WITHOUT WASTE

The plan looks pretty good for Waste Free Edmonton – a local nonprofit that works to promote lower consumption and increased reuse – but the group’s co-founder said the rules could go further.

“What we would have liked to see is that take-out containers are treated the same as cups, where you can still use single-use items in a transition, but you have to pay for them,” Sean said. Stepchuk.

“By having to pay, it creates a deterrent to doing it, and it forces an individual to think twice. “

He thinks it would encourage people to bring their own containers, which is ultimately the best option on the planet.

Stepchuk wants the plan to be implemented “urgently” and said the planet is experiencing a plastic crisis, linked to a climate change crisis.

“As long as we see this implemented in 2022, I’ll be happy. Could it have been earlier? Yes. But, I think doing it now will provide leadership to other municipalities as well,” Stepchuk said.

The report found that 42% of all large waste collected in 2019 consisted of single-use items.

Bryce K. Locke