Should the City Eliminate Plastic Bags?

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Plastic Bags
File photo

Can the Sault survive without plastic bags?

Councillors Corey Gardi and Donna Hilsinger are hoping to make this a reality for the city.

Gardi, seconded by Hilsinger, is bringing forward a motion to the first council meeting of 2020 on Monday, asking the city to consider eliminating plastic bags.

This report asks City Staff to “consider and report back on a process by which Council can, within its legal authority, discourage and/or eliminate the use of plastic bags within the community. This includes a plan for the municipality to reduce and eliminate its own use of plastic bags and single-use plastics. City staff are also being asked to consult with community stakeholders, specifically including the commercial operations throughout the community that are heavily dependent on the use of plastic bags to receive their comment, feedback and input.”

The full resolution reads as follows:

“Whereas plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade – breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits; and

Whereas these toxic bits of plastic particles end up contaminating soil, and enter thefood web when animals accidentally ingest them; and

Whereas plastics including plastic bags are causing catastrophic effects on the world’s oceans, including contributing to hundreds of thousands of marine animal deaths per year; and

Whereas according to the Rochester Institute of Technology more than 22 million pounds of plastic pollution ends up in the Great Lakes every year; and

Whereas 80% of litter in the Great Lakes region is plastic, pollution that threatens the ecosystem of the lakes and the source of drinking water depended upon by 40million people including the residents of Sault Ste. Marie; and

Whereas the Canadian Government plans to ban harmful single-use plastics including plastic shopping bags as early as 2021 in an effort to reduce the 3 million tons of plastic waste tossed out by Canadians every year; and

Whereas the City of Sault Ste. Marie should do what it can to discourage or eliminate the use of plastic bags; and

Now Therefore Be It Resolved that City staff is directed to consider and report back on a process by which Council can, within its legal authority, discourage and/or eliminate the use of plastic bags within the community including a plan for the municipality to reduce and eliminate its own use of plastic bags and single use plastics;

Be It Further Resolved that City staff consult with community stakeholders, specifically including the commercial operations throughout our community, that are heavily dependent on the use of plastic bags to receive their comment, feedback and input.”

86 COMMENTS

  1. People do realize that plastic has the lowest carbon foot print. Cloth bags are the highest and paper is in second place. So do we want to lower our carbon foot print or raise it.

    • Please don’t bring logic into a discussion on ‘climate change’. Then there is the myth that plastic bags, which are thinner than paper, are filling out landfills. And the old they’re never rested. Funny how I have and see others reusing plastic bags all the time.

  2. Plastic bags are made from recycled material, so what you gonna make out of the recycled crap instead? You’ll never be rid of plastic

  3. absolutely! We should also upgrade our recyclables. This city is the first city I have been to that does not recycle all plastics and many other items that can be recycled. It’s a shame so much goes to the landfill that does not have to!

    • Dawn Langille totally agree with this. I left the Soo just after we introduced recycling to the community. I return almost 20 yrs later and we still only recycle the same items as 20yrz ago. It’s disheartening how in the box and behind our city decision makers are. There are much smaller communities with less municipal revenue in Ontario that manage to recyle all plastics, paper and composte. Why aren’t we?!

    • Jen Blair Great question. I moved here 8 years ago from a town of 7500 who had a massive recycling program. They recycled everything, plus had curbside compost bins (kitchen scraps) collected every couple of weeks and composted and sold every spring for 50 a truck load. It is really disheartening!

  4. Grocery stores should have paper bags as an option not plastic. Value Village has paper bags for a 10 cent charge. Good for them. Would gladly pay 10 cents when I forget to bring a bag to grocery store.

  5. Paper bags and paper straws are the way to go. I use cloth bags for groceries…the ones with the flat bottoms…beats plastic.

  6. Yes. I loved paper bags. My grandfather refused to use plastic and we had to request paper. We never had an issue with them. For anyone upset about this, use reusable or purchase biodegradable bags. There are other options.

    • How entitled and lazy do you have to be to just throw garbage on the group with absolute zero regard. Does your mother still clean up after you? You’re the problem

  7. The less we consume, the less there is to throw away. Removal of single use plastic bags is a minor inconvenience that we can overcome with simple alternatives.
    2020 needs to be the year of our oceans. I also use Ekoru.org as a search engine alternative to Google because they help clean oceans, Lets make 2020 a plastic trash free year.

  8. but what will people use for garbage bags?
    You know, the 13 gallon kitchen bags, and the 33 gallon and larger for the big cans like at the offices an hospitals and elsewhere

  9. Why do they call these single use bags. I see people use them for just about everything after they take their groceries out of them, and lunch bags seems to be popular don’t see many lunch pails anymore.

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