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More than 1,600 people urge Yukon to impose fee on single-use bags

Yukon stores can charge a voluntary fee of 5 cents per bag, but Zero Waste Yukon says that's not enough. 

Zero Waste Yukon says voluntary 5-cent per bag charge by some Yukon stores is not enough

'It's definitely an issue people feel passionate about,' said Ira Webb of Zero Waste Yukon, seen here at Raven Recycling with about a day's collection of single-use plastic bags. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

A group pushing for a user fee for single-use plastic bags in Yukon presented its petition to the Legislature today.

Zero Waste Yukon says it's collected 1,689 signatures. The petition comes in the midst of a public consultation the government is holding. 

"We're very excited that they are consulting on how to implement a fee, so this is another show of support to getting a fee in place," says Ira Webb, Zero Waste Yukon's program co-ordinator.

"It's definitely an issue people feel passionate about."

Members of Zero Waste Yukon speak to Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker at the territorial legislature on Tuesday. (CBC)

Yukon stores can charge a voluntary fee of five cents per bag, but the organization says that's not enough. 

It points to the N.W.T., where retail bag use has dropped by 70 per cent since a 25-cent fee was imposed in 2011.

Last fall, the Yukon Legislature voted unanimously to work towards eliminating all single-use plastic products, including bags and straws.

The government says it spends about $6 million a year on waste disposal, and about half of that goes toward getting rid of plastics.

The government's consultation process runs until April 26.

Bales of plastic bags collected at Raven Recycling in Whitehorse. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

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