OPINION: It’s time to do something about single-use items overflowing our landfills

Chilliwack’s plan for change starts with residents

When was the last time you used an item once — then pitched it?

If you’re a typical Chilliwack resident — or, indeed, a typical person anywhere in Canada — your answer is likely: today. So we’re happy to see that the City of Chilliwack has pledged to draft a reduction strategy to try to solve the overwhelming amount of unnecessary trash that clogs landfills and can take hundreds of years to decompose.

READ MORE: Chilliwack to talk trash with pop-up sessions

READ MORE: Chilliwack to consider ban on single-use plastics

If you think using recyclable or compostable items solves the problem, think again. Even these items take large amounts of resources like energy to produce, as the city has noted.

Single-use items remain the scourge of modern society, from plastic bags at the grocery till to coffee cups and take-out containers that transport many of our meals. Oddly, plastic straws have been the focus of many activists and governments, even through straws are the mere tip of the iceberg of single-use trash generated by our throw-away, takeout society.

If you go to a shop where straws have been banned, have you noticed you are still handed a disposable plastic cup and plastic lid? Banning straws was never the solution to the massive problem of overflowing landfills.

In Chilliwack, we’re pleased to see the city is taking a wider view that’s not just focused on straws — or even just on plastic. The municipal government is asking the public for input on a comprehensive strategy to solve the single-use trash problem, from Styrofoam to paper to plastic.

And residents are being asked to help. You can fill out an online survey (by Dec. 20) or visit a pop-up booth (Dec. 12, 5 to 8 p.m. and Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cottonwood Mall, or Dec. 14, 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Sardis Sports Complex) to chat with city staff about how to reduce single-use materials.

The perfect solution starts with all of us.

– Christine Endicott, Editor


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