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REPORTING · 23rd July 2014
Walter McFarlane
Councillor Mary Murphy had a motion on the agenda to ban single use plastic bags in Kitimat starting at the Checkout Counter. By the time it got to Council, the motion had changed quite considerably.

“I put this motion forward and I was informed that in British Columbia, we can’t ban the use of plastic bags and all of the other provinces are allowed to do it. It concerns me because I know we need to do something with it and I know that there is some talk about recycling plastic bags. Meanwhile, it is going into our landfill and I don’t know how we can get our heads around it or how we can send a letter to the Prime Minister saying we need to be able to make decisions in our community on using plastic bags,” said Murphy.

Mayor Joanne Monaghan suggested she take it to UBCM. Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know if Multi Materials BC covered plastic bags, but there might be an opportunity to recycle the bags.

“I for one am not in favour of banning single use plastic bags. I think that we should move in that direction and encourage people to reuse their bags but we have other initiatives to extend the life of our landfill that we need to follow up on. The cardboard ban is one and we were talking about the commercial sector and now we’re talking about doing that for the residential sector. There is too much wood going into our landfill. The grass clippings going into the general refuse area. We have the ability to recycle it. There are things we can do that have a very large impact on extending the life of the landfill and I think we need to pursue those in [expedient] fashion,” said Feldhoff.

He said he would like to go through the other topics first before looking at the bags. Murphy stated the plastic bags were an issue around Kitimat, in the water, the bushes.

“Everywhere you go you are running into plastic bags,” said Murphy. “If you do a bit of research, the communities that have banned them have been very successful at it and there is a simple machine you can buy for $300,000 that you can use to recycle it and the Prime Minister did make some type of statement this year saying that they are going to implement something to recycle the plastic bags, it will be mandatory.”

Murphy made a motion to take the issue to UBCM and promote ‘allowing communities to make decisions where it concerns environment in our communities.’ She asked staff to draw up a resolution.

Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to know how other communities cut down on plastic bags and Styrofoam containers.

Feldhoff said he was in favour of the resolution, but wanted to know why only some communities were benefiting from the Multi Materials BC dollars.

Deputy CAO Warren Waycheshen reminded Council the period for submitting resolutions closes in June and anything which comes in after this would have to be accepted as an emergency resolution. There was no guarantee this would come forward as a resolution for September.

Goffinet stated this was not an emergent issue and they would be using staff time on something which would not get on the floor. He suggested the Council members who are going to UBCM be authorized to contact municipalities in the Province to gain information on this issue. He suggested the staff talk to other communities about how they get rid of the bags.

“I think it’s important. I think that it is on an emergency nature. I feel that it should go forward the way it is. I have done some research along with our deputy on this and the communities that have not been successful on this and it is because the government does not allow us to do that,” said Murphy.

Feldhoff made a tabling motion until the staff can come back with a report. “There are a lot of good intentions here but I think we need a better staff report,” said Feldhoff.

The motion was called and the banning of bags resolution was tabled to a future meeting.
Return bags to the store!
Comment by Gerry Hummel on 5th August 2014
You can return the bags to the store you got them from!
Comment by mmurphy on 29th July 2014
After some research: In 2014, provincial legislation will require plastic bags to be fully recyclable.

Read more:
Plastic Bags
Comment by Mel on 26th July 2014
Thanks for trying Mary - we have to start somewhere and little bits at a time can get the job done.
Comment by Dan on 25th July 2014
Leave us alone stop trying to ban everything the problem is people not bags enough already.
Comment by mmurphy on 24th July 2014
Ralph I hear you when does it end...this was to ban single use plastic bags in retail stores. one trillion used yearly....they choke wildlife, they don't break down in landfills they add to our demand for oil, and they aren't easy to recycle, which is the biggest reason why 90 percent of plastic bags are not recycled. its one small way to change our lifestyle, because there are alternatives. this will not pass its governed by the premier of B.C..
Comment by JIM on 24th July 2014
A little education goes a long ways and is much better then enforcement
In reply to Ban this ban that
Comment by Vern on 23rd July 2014
I agree that the problem is not just plastic bags as there is all sorts of other trash laying on the ground around our town. At least most people reuse the bags for other needs. Time would be better spent trying to promote recycling and less littering.
Ban this, ban that
Comment by Ralph Bartel on 23rd July 2014
Hey Mary while your at it why don't you contact the CEO's of Timmy's, A&W, D.Q. et al and tell them to cease and desist in the use of all paper cups, wrappings, etc. You could suggest to them that all customers purchase reusable cups and rubbermaid food containers for the products they provide. And said customers, of course, would be responsible for cleaning of their containers. I see a hell of a lot more of these around town and in the river than I do plastic bags. Just saying is all. Not knocking what you're trying to do but where does it end?