Busi­nesses tak­ing stock of what they use

Gov­ern­ments con­tinue to mull ban­ning sin­gle-use plas­tic bags

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - BY COLIN CHISHOLM, SARA ERIC­S­SON, HARRY SUL­LI­VAN SALTWIRE NET­WORK RE­GIONAL

As Hal­i­fax Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, the largest mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Nova Sco­tia, pre­pares to vote on whether or not to ban sin­gle-use plas­tic bags, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across the prov­ince are tak­ing no­tice, and po­ten­tially fol­low­ing suit.

Sin­gle-use plas­tic bags re­main in wide use across the prov­ince, es­pe­cially in larger stores like gro­cery stores, but that may soon come to an end.

West Hants War­den Abra­ham Ze­bian said his coun­cil dis­cussed the con­cept in 2018, but the is­sue was dropped with­out a con­clu­sion, for now.

“It’s on every­body’s radar and I think there is sup­port for it, we just haven’t con­sid­ered the ac­tual ban as a mu­nic­i­pal­ity yet,” Ze­bian said. “Coun­cil has writ­ten a let­ter to the prov­ince in sup­port of a prov­ince-wide ban. Ban from mu­nic­i­pal­ity to mu­nic­i­pal­ity (it) will con­fuse a lot of peo­ple. If the prov­ince is will­ing, I think you’d see full sup­port from the coun­cil.”

Ze­bian also owns Joe’s Men’s Wear in Wind­sor, which cur­rently uses sin­gle-use bags, but he says he would switch to a dif­fer­ent form of bag if a ban came into ef­fect.

“We use them at this point, that’s the way it’s al­ways been, but if a ban were to come through, as a busi­ness owner I would re­spect the ban and we’d adapt to some­thing dif­fer­ent, some­thing more sus­tain­able,” he said. “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“Plas­tic is hor­ri­ble, it just doesn’t go away, so if we can do this it will add up lit­tle by lit­tle and lead to some­thing big,” he added.

Tony Wood, owner of the Spoke & Note in Wind­sor, said he’s in favour of a sin­gle-use plas­tic bag ban and doesn’t use them in store.

“I’m lucky enough to be in an in­dus­try where most of our prod­ucts leave the store in your arms, ei­ther a bike or a gui­tar and a lot of my cus­tomers bring their own bags al­ready,” Wood said.

“Tuners, picks and things like that are pretty tiny, so peo­ple usu­ally just carry those out.”

“We avoid sin­gle-use bags both in busi­ness and at our home, we’re very pro-planet and be­ing smart with where we use our plas­tic, try to keep it at the bare min­i­mum.”

While coun­cils across the prov­ince con­tinue to dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity of ban­ning the bags, some busi­nesses have taken on the ini­tia­tive them­selves and have al­ready re­moved them from their stores.

Value Vil­lage’s New Mi­nas lo­ca­tion is one such store and has been us­ing brown pa­per bags – with a small fee charged per bag used – in lieu of plas­tic since last sum­mer, ac­cord­ing to store man­ager Reg Chitty.

He said the move “is a fan­tas­tic one” that lines up per­fectly with the store’s man­dates. “One of our man­dates is to re­cy­cle, re­use and re­pur­pose, so this fits right in with what we’re all about,” he said. “It’s help­ing our lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment – many peo­ple also use the bags for their com­post – and peo­ple seem to re­ally like it, so it’s work­ing out great.”

Colch­ester County is in the process of study­ing the is­sue as well, es­pe­cially as their stock­pile of stored plas­tics con­tin­ues to grow, but cur­rently, there is no plan in place for an out­right ban ac­cord­ing to Mayor Chris­tine Blair.

Sherry Martell, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Truro and Colch­ester Cham­ber of Com­merce, said if the mu­nic­i­pal­ity ever was to con­sider im­ple­ment­ing a ban, the cham­ber would want to be in­cluded in those dis­cus­sions be­fore a de­ci­sion was made.

In the mean­time, how­ever, she said the cham­ber sup­ports and en­cour­ages any busi­nesses that are try­ing to ad­dress the is­sue on their own.

“In gen­eral, we would en­cour­age busi­nesses to be en­vi­ron­men­tal ste­wards and cut down where they can (on sin­gle-use plas­tics).”

And Martell said the cham­ber also en­cour­ages the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to con­tinue its ef­forts to find other en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly sources for disposal of the plas­tics.

“Un­der­stand­ably, chal­lenges,” she said. there are

SARA ERIC­S­SON/SALTWIRE NET­WORK

Value Vil­lage store man­ager Reg Chitty says his New Mi­nas store has been us­ing pa­per bags in lieu of plas­tic since last Au­gust, and the change has been a pop­u­lar with cus­tomers.

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