Agility PR Solutions
This content is protected by copyright. Forwarding or sharing this content is prohibited. Redistribution of this content or URL could result in legal or financial actions.

Single-use plastics reduction strategy gets the green light

Media Type: Print
Outlet: Calgary Herald
Author: Brodie Thomas
Published Date: October 7, 2022
Councillors skeptical of a city-mandated fee for grocery bags

pushed back against a single-use waste reduction strategy at a

meeting Wednesday evening, but a majority of council approved the


With the federal government set to ban many single-use plastic items

such as shopping bags, takeout containers and plastic straws in late

2023, the city's new strategy is not a ban but rather a waste-

reduction initiative.

On Wednesday, council approved the creation of a bylaw, which will

come back to council in the fall of 2023 for final approval.

The motion was approved 11-4, with councillors Sean Chu, Andre

Chabot, Jennifer Wyness and Dan McLean opposed.

The city's strategy includes mandatory fees for both paper bags and

reusable bags. Wyness said those fees amounted to a regressive tax.

The city is planning to make retailers charge a mandatory fee of 15

cents per paper bag and $1 for a reusable bag, with the profits

staying with retailers.

"Why are we setting a minimum fee on a profiting industry?" asked


Administration said the mandatory fees are meant to level the playing

field for smaller businesses, preventing larger retailers from

offering free bags as an incentive to draw shoppers in.

The fees are also meant to encourage shoppers to simply bring their

own bags, rather than purchasing new ones or relying on paper bags.

Administration said a recent waste audit showed 3.5 million single-

use grocery bags per week end up in city landfills.

Wyness and Coun. Peter Demong expressed concern that composting can't

be a larger part of the solution, rather than fees.

Last month, Calgary Co-op said it was told by federal officials that

it could no longer offer single compostable grocery bags at the

checkout, but only sell them in bulk offthe shelves.

"The compostable bag issue from the Co-op is frustrating me to no end

as well," said Demong. "I understand it is still a single-use

material. But they've gone numerous times to the federal government

with the City of Calgary in hand trying to argue that this should not

be considered part of the ban. They have had zero luck."

While composting solutions result in zero waste, the city's strategy

aims to reduce any waste going into the city's waste disposal stream.

Coun. Courtney Walcott tried to drive that message in his debate.

"Paper bag, plastic bag, it's really about getting rid of all of it,"

he said. "The federal government will take care of plastic bags in

2023. And here we are just trying our best with this policy to

incentivize the use of other bags that are much more durable, long-

lasting and will not find their way after a single use into the

garbage regardless of their composition."

Twitter: @brodie_thomas

Powered by Agility PR Solutions

Copyright © Agility PR Solutions LLC