Single-Use Waste Reduction

Effective Jan. 1, 2020 the distribution of single-use plastic retail bags will be prohibited.

Single UsePlastics play an important role in our day-to-day lives, however the quantity of throw-away plastics we use are causing huge environmental challenges because of their use is so short and they take a very long time to break-down. The first step is to reduce our amount of redundant plastic use. This is a simple step that can make a huge difference. It’s easy: Do your part and bring your re-usable bags when you shop!

Municipalities across Alberta are joining others across Canada and the globe to reduce the amount of single-use items in their waste and recycling streams. Devon is at the forefront of this initiative in Alberta and plans to continue to be a leader in environmental stewardship.

Single-Use Plastic Retail Bag Bylaw

Single UseOn Oct. 15, Devon Council provided first reading to a Single-Use Plastic Retail Bag Bylaw to prohibit the distribution of single-use plastic retail bags by all retail locations in Devon. This is Devon's first step towards reducing single use waste in the community.

Exemptions from the Bylaw

The Single-Use Plastic Retail Bag Bylaw does contain some exemptions.

  1. Plastic bags used for:
    • carrying fruits and/or vegetables,
    • containing fresh meat or fish products,
    • containing bulk food items (i.e. candy, nuts, grains, etc.) or bulk hardware items (i.e. screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) that are not pre-packaged,
    • freshly prepared bakery items or other food items,
    • wrapping flowers or potted plants,
    • clothes immediately following professional laundering or dry-cleaning,
    • dirty, greasy, or hazardous products or materials.

  2. Single-use plastic retail bags distributed by a non-profit; a food bank, a homeless shelter or an animal shelter, in its normal course of business.

  3. The sale of multiple or bulk, prepackaged single-use plastic bags (i.e. blue bags and garbage bags).

  4. Pre-packaged items purchased from distributors and sold in store.

Single Use


Reusable bags provided by the Town

The Town will be providing two (2) reusable bags to each household, featuring the designs from local Devon artists as selected by the Art Association of Devon through a contest earlier this year. The contest was held for two age categories: under 15 and over 15.

The bags will be available in late 2019. To get in the practice, we encourage residents to bring reusable bags they shop prior to January 1, 2020.

Single Use

 

These are items that are designed to be used once and then thrown away. Common single-use items include plastic retail bags, polystyrene (Styrofoam) serving trays and bowls, plastic straws, plastic utensils, coffee stir sticks and stoppers, and polystyrene, plastic or paper cups.

The first and simplest step in waste management is waste reduction. We can all easily reduce the waste we produce. A simple first step is to use re-usable bags/containers when shopping. The amount of redundant packaging and single-use plastic used globally is creating large environmental and human health concerns.

There are 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags used annually around the globe. While single-use items are convenient, they have a great negative impact on our environment. These items are designed to be used once and disposed of, yet can take thousands of years to break down. It is estimated there are over 1.3 million single-use plastic retail bags used by Devonians annually.

In addition, North America relies on foreign markets to recycle our materials. With recent changes, places like China will reject shipments of recyclables that are contaminated with many of these single-use items.

A single-use plastic retail bag is a plastic bag less than 2 mils (0.05 millimetres) thick that is distributed by retail establishments. This bylaw is referring to what are commonly known as plastic “checkout bags”.

Yes. There are exemptions stated in the bylaw.

1. Single-use plastic retail bags used for:

  • carrying fruits or vegetables
  • containing fresh meat or fish products;
  • containing bulk food items (i.e. candy, nuts, grains, etc.) or bulk hardware items (i.e. screws, nuts, bolts, etc.);
  • freshly prepared bakery items or other food items;
  • wrapping flowers or potted plants;
  • clothes immediately following professional laundering or dry-cleaning;
  • dirty, greasy, or hazardous products or materials.

2. Single-use plastic retail bags distributed by a non-profit; a food bank, a homeless shelter or an animal shelter, in its normal course of business.

3. The sale of multiple or bulk, prepackaged single-use plastic bags (i.e. blue bags and garbage bags).

4. Pre-packaged items purchased from distributors.

Yes. As of January 1, 2020, there will be penalties in accordance with Schedule A of the bylaw and a verbal warning will be issued for a first offence.

Yes. In-fact, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo adopted a “Single-Use Shopping Bag Bylaw” in September of 2010. Other Alberta municipalities with active bylaws or that are discussing single-use waste reduction strategies include:

  • Banff
  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Okotoks
  • Spruce Grove
  • St. Albert
  • Wetaskiwin

Many companies are also working to reduce waste within their organizations and are implementing single-use waste reduction plans and new types of packaging to reduce their environmental impacts and to cut unnecessary costs. These companies include Sobeys, A&W, IKEA, McDonalds, and Proctor & Gamble.

Retail establishments can use-up existing stock until the bylaw takes effect on January 1, 2020. Residents are encouraged to donate or find other uses for these bags. Ultimately, the more use that the bag can experience, the better.

Some options for small containers at home include:

  • Using no bag
  • Using-up existing single-use plastic retail bags or using small bags as liners and dumping the contents of the containers into a large garbage bag containing household garbage, so smaller bags/liners are not thrown-out and last longer
  • Using compostable bags if the container is used for organics (i.e. food scraps, paper towel, toilet paper, Kleenex, or other organics) and then placing the items in the green organics cart with or without the compostable bag

Single UseThe Single Use Waste Reduction Task Force is a task-oriented working group appointed by Council that will be responsible for engaging the Devon community to gain input and provide recommendations to Council at specified milestones or when a decision is necessary involving single use waste reduction.

The Task Force is being formed in response to Devon's initiative to reduce waste in our community, particularly single-use items such as plastics and Styrofoam. Members will be selected through an application process based on Boards of Council application processes.

Applications closed August 1, 2019

Applications will be accepted until Aug. 1 before being be reviewed by Town of Devon Administration. Recommendations will then be provided to Council for appointment in August.

The Waste Reduction Task Force will consist of five (5) members of the community, one member of Council and the Town's Environment and Sustainability Coordinator.

Questions?

Have a question about the Task Force or looking for more information about what Devon is doing to be a more sustainable community? Email our Environment and Sustainability Coordinator at ATchir@devon.ca.

More info coming soon!

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