Saskatchewan

Sask. brewer, food business owner say they welcome federal ban on single-use plastics

Six items were identified when the federal government made its announcement earlier this week; grocery checkout bags; straws; stir sticks; plastic cutlery; six-pack rings and food takeout containers made of hard-to-recycle plastics. 

Ban on plastic bags, straws, cutlery, six-pack rings, takeout containers to come into effect by late 2021

The federal government formalized its plan to ban single-use plastics — including straws, grocery bags and other items — earlier this week. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The federal government's election promise to ban single-use plastics will come to fruition next year — and the heads of two Saskatchewan businesses say it's a welcome move.

Six items were identified when the federal government made its announcement earlier this week: grocery checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, plastic cutlery, six-pack rings and food takeout containers made of hard-to-recycle plastics. 

Moni Minhas, the president and CEO of Minhas Sask. Distillery, Winery and Brewery, says he wishes the government had made the move even sooner.

His company has been using single-use plastics in some products as a temporary measure, Minhas said.

"It will impact our business, and guess what? That's called progress," he said. 

"I think we can cope with it. In the larger interest of the communities we live [in] and serve, it is absolutely vital that we take care of the environment."

Minhas said his company hasn't used six-pack rings since its inception in Saskatchewan, and instead uses cardboard containers for the six-packs it distributes.

The federal government unveiled which single-use plastics will be covered by a national ban coming into effect in 2021. (CBC Graphics)

The ban will also apply to takeout food containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics, including foamed plastics, black plastic, or items made from multiple plastics. 

While she's used some of those materials in the past, Kyra Robillard, who owns and operates Baby Got Bannock out of Prince Albert, said she made the decision to move away from plastic cutlery and containers late last year. 

She now uses leftover cardboard boxes from her burger supplier for larger orders at her catering and food truck business.

She said she's always tried to do what she can to care for the environment, and also welcomed the federal single-use plastic ban.

But she hopes it leads to solutions, rather than more problems. 

"We used paper bags and everything before, and then realized that's affecting our forests," she said. 

"As long as we can find a better alternative to paper as well, then I'm OK with it."

City responses

In May, the City of Regina announced its own ban on plastic grocery bags, but that won't come into effect until after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The city said it will take a closer look at the federal government's proposed ban and consider its next steps. 

Prince Albert is in a similar situation. A ban on plastic bags there was announced in January of this year, but Mayor Greg Dionne previously said enforcement was postponed until after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A request for comment from the City of Prince Albert on what the federal government's plans might mean for the city's ban was not returned by deadline. 

The City of Saskatoon has banned plastic grocery bags from its recycling bins, but a more formal discussion about banning single-use plastics isn't likely to happen until after the upcoming Nov. 9 municipal election.

The City of Saskatoon was unable to return a request for comment for this story by deadline. 

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