Ban on single-use plastics floated by city council

Flin Flon’s city council is proposing a total ban on the sale of single-use plastic bags.

While a bylaw on the issue has not yet been introduced at a public meeting, the idea was discussed at the Jan. 7 meeting of city council.

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Under the most recent proposal, the ban would not include bags used to package bulk items, to contain or package frozen meat, to protect bakery products, to contain prescription drugs, bags sold in multi-bag packages or bags for door-hangars and laundry cleaning.

“It’s a subject we’ve approached before, but we’ll move forward with it this time,” said councillor Karen MacKinnon during the meeting.

Members of the Flin Flon and District Chamber of Commerce have been consulted for the ban in an attempt to see how such a measure could impact local business. Chamber members consulted agreed that a ban would be a positive move, while some differed on how such a ban should be implemented, whether the ban would come with a local information campaign, what penalties businesses could face for non-compliance and how long it may take to put such a ban in place.

“We’re looking at working on a bylaw to do it. We’ve asked the chamber for their engagement in how we can do it,” MacKinnon said.

Bans on single-use plastic bags vary across different municipalities throughout Canada. Snow Lake, The Pas, Thompson and Leaf Rapids all already have bans in place for single-use plastic bags - Leaf Rapids voted to ban bags back in 2007. Last year during the federal election campaign, the Liberals announced intentions to ban single-use plastics by 2021.

“We thought the sooner, the better to move forward with this initiative,” said MacKinnon.

“We should be looking more into what we do as a community for recycling.”

Earlier this year, councillors received dozens of letters from Grade 4 students at Ruth Betts Community School asking for a ban on single-use plastic bags, each addressed directly to Flin Flon Mayor Cal Huntley.

“You guys are sort of like mind readers. It’s certainly not a done deal yet, but we are definitely considering that,” he said during that meeting, held June 18.

“That’s a major initiative for one of the committees within the city of Flin Flon, to look at how we can do that and start to sort of look after making sure those bags aren’t blowing all over the place.”

“It is the right thing to do,” said MacKinnon during the Jan. 7 meeting.

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