Banning single-use plastic shopping bags must be customer friendly as well as environmentally friendly.
Brad DeMille, owner of DeMille’s Farm Market, expresses this opinion. He thinks Salmon Arm’s proposed plastic shopping bag ban is good for the environment but he doesn’t want it to be a bad thing for Albertan tourists, for instance, who may already find B.C.’s gas and wine prices high.
He says he’d also like it phased in slowly, so retailers and customers have enough time to prepare.
DeMille was one of the people who voiced their opinions at an information session on April 23 on the proposed bylaw hosted by the city.
DeMille says he has a large supply of plastic bags on hand because they’re cheaper purchased in bulk, so he’s pleased there is a grace period. He’s not sure if it will be long enough, however.
DeMille said he sees the ban as a good first step, with more needed in the future, including a focus on bottled water. He would also like to see improvements to the whole chain of recycling so that there is an environmentally rationale way to recycle and one that entices people to participate. He’d also like to see materials for bags grown locally and the bags themselves manufactured nearby.
Although people did not flock to Salmon Arm council chambers to voice their views on the proposed bylaw, those who did are already heading down the no-plastic-bag road.
“I think both of those retailers are well along the way to educating their clientele,” remarked Mayor Alan Harrison, referring to David Askew and DeMille, who were both at the April 23 meeting.
Harrison said Askew is pondering the idea of having a bin in the store where people could put any extra reusable bags they have. That way, if someone needs a bag, they could borrow one from the bin.
Harrison says council has also received a lot of feedback through the city’s website and via emails.
“So while it would have been nice to have more people present in front of council, not everybody is comfortable in that kind of setting.”
He said he’s received lots of informal feedback in the community, and residents can still comment via the website, by emailing mayor and council or by making an appointment to meet with the mayor at city hall.
Council will consider first and second reading of the bylaw on May 13, with a hearing anticipated for May 27. The public is welcome to provide input at that time.
If the bylaw is passed, it’s expected to go into effect July 4, followed by a six-month education grace period.
Council passed a motion at the Tuesday meeting to supply each household in Salmon Arm with a reusable grocery bag with the new Salmon Arm brand on it. That would coincide with the launch at the beginning of July of the new composting program and changes to the recycling program.