Edmonton city council has moved to ban some single-use plastic items and Styrofoam containers by next summer.
The bylaw approved Wednesday will ban using single-use plastic shopping bags and can impose a compulsory minimum fee of 15 cents on recent paper shopping bags and $1 for brand spanking new reusable shopping bags. These fees will increase on July 1, 2024 to 25 cents for a paper bag and $2 for a recent reusable bag.
Styrofoam containers may even be banned.
As well as, customers at restaurants will probably be required to ask for single-use accessories like utensils made from any material. Restaurants must serve dine-in drink orders in reusable cups, and restaurants and event organizers must develop policies to permit customers to bring their very own reusable drink cups.
The bylaw takes effect July 1, 2023.
“We wish to ensure that that we’re doing whatever we are able to possibly do to cut back using these single-use items,” Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said.
Every 12 months, Edmontonians discard an estimated 450 million single-use items comparable to shopping bags, takeout containers, cups, utensils and straws. The vast majority of these things find yourself in landfills, but additionally they find yourself littering streets, parks and other open spaces.
“I believe it is going to allow Edmontonians to, to begin with, understand how damaging those single-use items could be to the environment,” Sohi said. “But additionally, the sightliness of our city. If you go for a walk — I don’t know if it’s just me — but I’m noticing increasingly more litter on our streets, in our parks, in our river valley.”
Town said while the bylaw could be enforced, it is going to take an education-first approach to make sure Edmontonians are aware of the principles.
“It’s necessary. We’ve got a lot work to do as a city to cut back waste, to divert waste from landfills and that is one small a part of that,” Nakota Isga Coun. Andrew Knack said.
The federal government has moved to ban Canadian firms from importing or making plastic bags and takeout containers by the tip of this 12 months. By the tip of 2023, the sale of these things may even be prohibited in Canada.
While the town acknowledges the federal ban, Knack said the town bylaw goes a bit further than the federal rules and can come into place six months before the federal ban.
“It really does attempt to strive for greater reuse and it’s not only stopping people from throwing out, it’s also attempting to ensure that we’re all working towards that stage of carrying a number of extra reusable bags,” Knack said.
Town said the July 1, 2023, implementation date may even give businesses time to adapt to the brand new rules.
“Our city administration engaged with businesses, I usually consult with businesses,” Sohi said. “I actually have not heard any concerns from business leaders on this, but we are going to proceed to supply them the vital tools available, educational opportunities and options that may help them adjust to a number of the changes.”
Knack said he didn’t hear much pushback from his constituents on the subject, receiving perhaps two or three emails during the last 12 months, which he said is shockingly low.
“We’re at that time now where all of us generally realize we’ve got to do that for the environment. We’ve got to cut back the quantity of things we put out in waste,” he said. “It’ll be just a little bit inconvenient in the beginning, like a few of these changes are, but then very soon we’re going to get the hang of it.
“Even once I’m doing grocery shopping, I’m enthusiastic about the products I’m buying and the way much waste that may produce. Because I realize if I’m not considering of that, that may have a much wider impact.”
Teresa Spinelli, president of Edmonton’s Italian Centre Shop, said it’s a extremely good move.
“Town was forward considering, which is absolutely good because we all know federally we’re going to need to go that way,” she said, adding her business had already began eliminating single-use plastics.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the corporate began charging for plastic bags. Spinelli said in a single 12 months, their 4 locations saved about a million plastic bags.
“We were a part of City of Edmonton’s corporate leadership on climate change. So we already began plenty of initiatives and what we are able to do higher to support the environment. Because obviously every part that’s good for the environment is sweet for everyone.”
The corporate purchased recent bags, although Spinelli admits it’s been difficult to search out products to interchange plastic cutlery.
“Since COVID, there’s been a giant shortage of containers and utensils, that’s going to be our biggest issue,” she said.
“Containers — the biodegradable containers — there’s at all times a shortage,” Spinelli continues. “And expensive. Things like bamboo are costlier than regular plastic.”
Spinelli said they’re doing their best to not pass on the additional costs to customers, but admits at the tip of the day, it might occur.
Christine Gossain, owner of Crum Coffee Bar, said her business has also already began the transition away from plastics. She said the shift has been pretty easy.
“It might mean just ordering different product,” Gossain said. “I actually prefer it. I’ve at all times been someone who’s at all times preferred to cut back waste.
“Everyone knew this was coming, so all the places that I already order from, they’ve already brought in the choice stuff and we’ve already began doing it. We’ve sort of preemptively already banned — as much as we are able to — the plastics… we’ve already transitioned.”
Gossain said their straws, cups, containers and utensils are actually going to be corn-based.
“They’re way costlier. You will have to readjust your pricing based on that, which we’ve already done,” she said. “The straws, the cups, the lids, those things are way costlier than the plastic.”
Gossain encourages her customers to herald their very own reusable cups and containers.
“Some people usher in their very own Tupperware, which I really like, not only because on a business end, you’re actually saving on cost, but I hate waste. So I’m actually a giant fan of this.”
The co-founder of Waste Free Edmonton can also be pleased with the brand new bylaw.
“It signifies that businesses and individuals are going to need to make the changes that plenty of businesses and individuals have already made in an effort to get these single-use items largely out of our lives, out of the environment and out of our landfills,” Sean Stepchuk said.
“There’s still steps to take but it surely’s actually it’s an enormous milestone.”
More information on the bylaw could be found on the city’s website.
— with files from Emily Mertz, Global News.