Calgary

New single-use product regulations could be on their way for Calgary

On Tuesday, a council committee supported a proposed bylaw that would have retailers charge for bags which are either made of paper or are reusable as a way of cutting down how many of them wind up in landfills.

If the bylaw is approved by council next month, changes would come into effect in 2024

The city is looking at new regulations to reduce the number of plastic and paper bags that end up in landfills. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

The City of Calgary is looking at changes that they say will reduce the amount of single-use products that end up in its landfills. 

On Tuesday, a council committee supported a proposed bylaw that would have retailers charge for bags which are either made of paper or are reusable as a way of cutting down how many of them wind up in landfills.

The city said millions of plastic bags and plastic utensils land in its landfills every week. 

It's a move that would see the city take a similar approach to a regulation that the federal government passed in June of this year.

"Where the federal government is leading, we are responding," said Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner. 

"We are taking those steps towards our own waste reduction strategy, again, for solutions that work for Calgarians and that work in tandem with what the federal government is pushing … but being responsive to Calgarians and the business community."

In June, the federal government announced it will ban some single-use plastic items in an effort to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. But only a limited number of products fall under the ban and some of the prohibitions don't kick in until 2025. 

Greenpeace protesters send a message about single-use plastics to the federal government in Ottawa as it hosts the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Que. (Greenpeace)

The city, however, is proposing that retailers charge for bags which are either made of paper or are reusable as a way of decreasing how many of them end up going to waste.

It's also asking businesses to require customers to ask for single use items such as stir sticks, straws and condiments.

The businesses selling the bags would retain the fees raised by the proposed new charge. 

Ward 2 Coun. Jennifer Wyness voted against the idea, saying a scan by administration found that 87 per cent of Calgarians are already bringing reusable bags when they go shopping.


         
"For me to get a yes vote, I'd like to see holistically how it fits in. Even by the own metrics that admin has given us, Calgarians are already over 50 per cent bringing bags that are reusable," said Wyness.

"So why would we then have to up the price or set a minimum price when Calgarians are already acknowledging that they have changed their behaviour?"

In May of 2019, a council committee recommended the city develop a waste reduction strategy for single-use items like plastic bags and disposable coffee. 

If the newly proposed bylaw is approved by council next month, it would come into effect in 2024.

With files from Scott Dippel

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