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Comox council asks staff for plastic bag ban report

COMOX, B.C. – The Town of Comox has taken its first step towards the potential ban of plastic bags within its boundaries.

During Wednesday’s meeting, council unanimously approved a recommendation that a single use plastic bag report be received from town staff.

Councillor Nicole Minions has championed this cause, following the lead of municipalities such as Cumberland and Victoria, which are also exploring the possibility of a ban on single use plastics.

“This is an action that basically, to me, is kind of a low fruit to try out,” Minions later said. “The community, business people, individuals are on board with the potential of getting a staff report done first, and then also figuring out what a six-month implementation would look like.”

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The first step, she added, was looking at banning plastic bags and straws. Regarding switching to paper and metal straws, Minions said a few local businesses are already on board with this incentive.

Banning single-use plastics in the Comox Valley would be part of a movement happening across Canada, Europe, China and the U.S., she said. In May 2018, the City of Vancouver announced that it would be the first major Canadian city to ban plastics drinking straws. Vancouver’s straw ban will take effect in fall 2019.

Minions said the issue of single-use plastics in landfills “goes much deeper” in terms of its economic and social impact.

“We need to get our diversion down in our local Comox/Strathcona waste management,” she said. “Roughly 10 percent of the landfill is made up of plastics. That’s one piece of that puzzle.”

The Comox Strathcona Waste Management’s Solid Waste Management Plan notes that roughly one third of all CSWM waste is recyclable, with plastics accounting for 40 percent of this total (plastics make up 15 percent of all waste).

Minions said one of the goals is reducing the quantity of microplastics that are being eaten by birds, whales, and sea life.

“There’s tons of scientific data that shows (that plastic) is getting into our DNA as humans,” she noted.

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