The Cariboo Regional District Board has adopted a new internal policy regarding single-use plastics.
The goal is to reduce or eliminate the use of single use plastics and other disposable items in the day-to-day operations of the Regional District.
“I am proud that we are taking this step forward as an organization to reduce our environmental footprint,” CRD Board Chair, Margo Wagner said. “We want to be an example to our communities as we encourage residents to avoid single-use or disposable items as well.”
Wagner said the CRD doesn’t have jurisdiction to ban single-use plastics across the regional district, yet wanted to take action.
Last week the Williams Lake city council received a proposal to develop a bylaw to ban single-use plastics and tasked staff with drafting a bylaw for further consideration.
“First, we’re starting with our own internal operations and we also will be supporting our member municipalities that are looking at their policies and regulations, ” Wagner said.
The new policy means single-use plastics or disposable items will be avoided at CRD staff and board functions as well as special events hosted by the regional district, with exceptions for special events with large numbers or emergency situations.
While the policy doesn’t apply to users of CRD-owned community halls or fire departments, the CRD will be placing posters at those facilities to encourage single-use plastic reduction.
As the policy explains, single-use plastics include plastic utensils, plastic straws, plastic bags, Styrofoam cups, plates or bowls, and plastic stir sticks.
The CRD also aims to reduce the use of other disposable items as well, such as paper cups, plates and bowls, wooden utensils and paper bags, Wagner explained.
“Regardless of whether there is a single-use plastic ban in your community or not, I encourage everyone to consider what they can do to reduce their use of single-use plastics or disposable items,” Wagner said. “Remember your reusable bag when you go shopping, bring reusable plates and cups to your next summer BBQ, try to buy items with less packaging and recycle the plastic packaging you do receive.”
Plastic bags and overwrap can be recycled at all CRD recycling depots. Since June 2018, other flexible plastic packaging can also be recycled at CRD depots, including bubble wrap; nylon weaved rice and dog food bags; cereal bags; zipper lock bags (including Ziplocs!); stand up pouches; potato chip bags; cellophane; and many others.
Download a recycling guide for CRD recycling depots at cariboord.ca/recycling; more information is available at recyclebc.ca.
“The first step we should all be taking is reducing our use of plastics and disposable items and reusing items as much as possible. Secondly, we should make sure we are recycling everything we can,” Wagner said.