Banning single use plastic bags in North America began with Leaf Rapids, Manitoba in 2007. Many other places worldwide have followed including Thompson in 2010 and The Pas in 2016.
The concern has grown to include more single use plastics than just shopping bags. Pictures of islands of plastic in the oceans and wild life tangled in plastic things have created support for a ban of single use plastics. A recent Dalhousie University study indicated that 97% of Canadians are quite concerned.
There many reasons why single use plastics are used. They make sure food is safe and lasts longer. They are convenient for take-out. They also protect things and create packages for several pieces of the same thing.
Another big reason plastic is used is because it is cheaper to use and lighter to ship.
And that is the rub. The same University of Dalhousie study indicated that people are only willing to pay a small amount to reduce single use plastics.
The Canadian government says it plans to ban some single use plastics beginning in 2021.
Why not now?
Because it is complicated. Time is needed evaluate which items would have the biggest impact and to give industry time to find alternatives.
Some plastics are recyclable although there is significantly more recyclable plastic than current Canadian recycling mills can process.
A call for Plastic Free July started in Australia. Other places including the Green Action Centre in Winnipeg have promoted the idea. Their challenge to us is to evaluate what kind of single-use plastics are in our lives, how we can move away from them and commit to making changes. Follow this link for more information. https://greenactioncentre.ca/module/plastic-free-july-at-green-action-centre/