Kawartha Lakes considering voluntary ban on single-use plastics
DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: Councillors are considering a recent staff report that would see a voluntary ban on single-use plastics and styrofoam to help reduce environmental impact. According to City staff at the November 5th committee meeting, Kawartha Lakes alone produces roughly 10 tonnes of styrofoam waste and over one third of all plastics collected come from single-use materials. Earlier this year, councillors brought forward a resolution in May that requested staff to review what the ban of both materials would mean, and the potential environmental and economic impacts would be for the community and the support required from all stakeholders. “The importance of acknowledging the environmental impacts that stem from continuing to use and allow these materials is becoming more and more evident as we see recycling continuing to make headlines,” explained Ward 2 Councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan, who brought the original request forward earlier this year. “As a business owner myself, I recognize the importance of making changes and getting everyone on board in order to make this motion a success.” As part of their study, staff explained that they worked with multiple partners to gather information on the use of these materials. With the support of local Chambers of Commerce, an online survey was released to businesses across the municipality to gauge the willingness of participation: 77 percent of respondents agreed they would consider using alternative materials such as paper bags for packaging, with 66 percent stating they could implement a change within one year. “The rationale behind introducing a voluntary ban would give businesses time to phase out these materials and create a plan of action,” added David Kerr, Manager of Environmental Services for Kawartha Lakes. “Should Provincial and Federal legislation move forward with an enforced ban, the municipality would be in good stance to manage changes required.” Along with the voluntary ban, the report also requested Council approve removing styrofoam from the recycling stream all together, showing the cost to recycle does not reflect any benefits to the municipality in continuing to accept this material.