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City of Chilliwack fires off letter of support for federal regime to cut single-use plastics

More plastics should be banned like the kind found in cigarette butts and food wrappers: letter

Chilliwack city council agreed to fire off a letter this week mostly in support of the federal government’s proposed rules for banning harmful plastics by the end of 2022.

City officials were asked to provide feedback by March 5 on the draft ‘Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations’ from Environment and Climate Change Canada, which are proposing an outright ban on several types of plastic.

Most levels of government are trying to dramatically cut down on plastic waste, seen as toxic pollution, by enacting sweeping new rules about it.

Council approved staff recommendation to send input on the proposed regulations, which “prohibit the import, manufacture, and sale of six categories of single-use plastics (SUP) deemed harmful to both the environment and human health.”

The six categories of the federal ban include plastic bags, cutlery, food containers, ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws.

“It is estimated that the regulations would prevent more than 23,000 tonnes of plastic pollution from entering the environment over a 10-year period - the equivalent of one million garbage bags of litter - and their enactment represents both a necessary and a major step in the regulatory process that brings Canada one step closer to delivering on its commitment to banning certain harmful single-use plastic,” according to the Dec. 21 press release from Environment Canada. “It is the government’s intent to finalize these regulations and bring the ban into force as quickly as possible and as early as late 2022 after reviewing and considering comments received.”

The manufacture and import of plastics for the purposes of export would not be subject to the same rules under the federal regime, noted city staff in the letter contained in the March 1 council agenda, but suggested that they should be prohibited as well.

Chilliwack officials would also like to see an exception made for those who need straws for medical reasons, and finally the letter recommended that the federal rules cover additional types of harmful plastics, like those found in cigarette butts and plastic food wrappers.

City of Chilliwack passed its own set of rules for dealing with problematic plastics, the “Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy” in 2020 and updated it last September.

The made-in-Chilliwack strategy bans plastic bags, plastic utensils and foam containers, as of April 1, 2022. Some items will be available with a minimum fee, like .15 cents for paper bags, and a dollar for reusable bags, while others were put on hold due to public-health restrictions.

See Chilliwack’s single-use strategy details.

RELATED: Plastic bag ban comes into effect April 1

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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