The ubiquity of single-use items like plastic bags, water bottles and takeout containers are clogging landfills and damaging the environment.
City of Chilliwack is delving into what can be done to reduce their use throughout the month of December and seeking feedback from the public on the road to drafting a comprehensive strategy.
There’s an online survey survey to be completed by Dec. 20 and also “pop-up” booths where city staff will be on hand to chat with people about what they are willing or prepared to do to reduce these materials.
“Despite their convenience, these items can take hundreds of years to decompose, contaminating our waterways, polluting our communities and filling up our landfills,” according to the survey preamble.
“Even items that are recyclable or compostable still use large amounts of resources, like water and energy, to produce.”
It’s a multifaceted issue facing all communities, and plastics aren’t the only problem as these materials can contain plastic, Styrofoam, and paper — or a combination of those.
“We want to keep Chilliwack a great place to live, so we are looking into what more can be done to reduce waste and eliminate litter in Chilliwack,” Mayor Ken Popove said in July, when council approved going out to tender for a consultant to lead the consultation process.
Staff estimated it would take until spring 2021 to implement a made-in-and-for-Chilliwack strategy, and the consultation process would cost an estimated $50,000. That echoes efforts at the national and provincial levels, and in dozens of Canadian municipalities.
So in order to help shape the strategy for Chilliwack, city officials need to understand how people use single-use items and how they might change their behaviour in the future.
The pop-up booths at the Cottonwood Mall are on Dec. 12 (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), and Dec. 14 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and at the Sardis Sports Complex Dec. 14 (5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) during the Santa Toonie Skate. For more details about the consultation, the survey, or upcoming engagement events, email firstname.lastname@example.org.