Regina city council sets timeline leading to ban on single-use plastic bags by 2022

·2 min read
Regina city administration say the ban is needed not only because of the amount of bags going to the landfill, but also because of the number of bags littering the streets.  (Zach Goudie/CBC - image credit)
Regina city administration say the ban is needed not only because of the amount of bags going to the landfill, but also because of the number of bags littering the streets. (Zach Goudie/CBC - image credit)

Regina is getting ready to join more than 40 other municipalities in Canada that have banned plastic grocery bags.

In a report to the operations and services committee, city administration plans to begin educating the public about the ban near the end of 2021, with the ban itself in place in early 2022. It was supposed to start in August, 2020, but delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Other municipalities that have instituted such a ban include Jasper, Alta., Vancouver, Moncton, N.B., Montreal and Prince Albert.

The report also looked at the environmental benefit of decreasing single-use plastics and the effects of replacement products.

Regina will be joining more than 40 other Canadian municipalities in 2022 with a ban on plastic check-out bags.
Regina will be joining more than 40 other Canadian municipalities in 2022 with a ban on plastic check-out bags. (John Gaudi/CBC )

Coun. Shanon Zachidniak brought up concerns about information in the report that included a statement that manufacturing a single-use plastic bag requires less energy and results in fewer emissions than producing a paper or reusable cotton bag.

"So I'm curious if when reports are being prepared, are we ensuring that we are using objective sources rather than, say, studies funded by the plastic bag industry manufacturers?" she asked.

City administration saidthey do try to look at as neutral research as possible. It said as the food and yard waste project isn't rolling out until 2023, paper bags cannot be recycled at this time.

Coun. Cheryl Stadnichuk also asked whether there's a way to encourage businesses to curb plastics. She pointed to Mortise and Tenon in downtown Regina where if someone brings in their own bag, the shop donates the money they would have spent — about 40 cents — to non-profits.

"It kind of fits two purposes, where people know not only they're not using a single use plastic bag — they're doing something good on the environmental front — but then they're also contributing to a nonprofit organization," Stadnichuk said.

City administration said they will discuss options with businesses and have a continuing communication campaign.

Public outreach is also shifting toward waste prevention instead of disposable items, and the food- and yard-waste program is the next step.

The green bin food and yard waste program is set to be implemented in 2023. It was also delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The pilot is currently serving 2,800 households, and is expected to rise to about 67,000 households in 2023.

City administration say organic material accounts for 50 per cent of waste in the average person's garbage cart, and is compostable in the upcoming program.