Idea to reduce plastic bags trashed by Big Lakes

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County has trashed a suggestion to reduce single-use plastic bags in retail stores in the county.

At its regular meeting Feb. 12, council received a recommendation for information.

“A request was made to administration to research the possibility of reducing single-use plastic bags in the county,” said Heather Nanninga, director of corporate services.

“Single-use plastic bags have a negative impact on the environment both in terms of producing emissions and also harming wildlife,” she added.

A growing number of municipalities in Canada have a policy or bylaw that bans or reduces the use of single-use plastic bags.

However, all eight present council members turned down the recommendation.

One councillor was adamant in opposing a proposal to reduce single-use plastic bags.

“Most of us use [reusable] cloth bags, we’re already doing it,” South Sunset House – Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart said. “We’re not stupid.”

She added it’s not the responsibility of municipalities to regulate plastic bags.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” she said.

“Let retailers look at it; it isn’t for us.”

However, Nanninga replied the step to reduce plastic bags would also cut waste dumped into local landfills.

Sustainability officer Zachary Thompson said the county wants to reduce that type of waste.

“We’re looking at reducing plastic, just plastic bags at the check-out,” Thompson said before council voted.

“We haven’t decided what to do; it’s just to see what is the best option.”

CAO Jordan Panasiuk suggested a total ban on single-use plastic bags would not be the only option.

“There are a million options out there.”

He noted that the county has only a few retail stores that would be affected by a policy.

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