“I am looking into the process of eliminating it,” said Mayor Guy Desjardins, during an interview following the March 2 committee of the whole session of council.
Simon Durand of Groupe Convex, a non-profit agency, presented a request during the March 2 session, for the city to consider a local ban on the use of single-use plastic bags and similar materials. Groupe Convex provides a recycling service for several municipalities and businesses within the Prescott-Russell area, as part of its employment program for people needing workplace skills training. Durand noted that falling prices on the world market for some recyclable material is forcing Groupe Convex to review its recycling program operation and find ways to reduce costs.
Durand explained that single-use plastic bags, which end up in the recycling bins of homes and businesses, are not recyclable because of the ink used to imprint a logo or other market brand on the bag. They must be removed from the sorting process for other plastics which are recyclable. If even one single-use plastic bag ends up in a pallet of recyclable plastic, there is a risk that a buyer of recyclable plastic will reject the whole pallet.
That means an extra expense for Groupe Convex, both for extra sorting time to remove single-use plastic, and for pallets that end up rejected, because one or more single-use plastic bags ended up in the recyclable plastic bundle.
Durand noted that Casselman and Woodstock, in Ontario, have both banned single-use plastics in their municipalities, and that there is growing support among major businesses to stop using single-use plastic bags. The Sobey’s grocery store chain will stop providing single-use plastic bags at the checkout stands in its Canadian outlets.
Mayor Desjardins noted that there is also growing support within Clarence-Rockland’s own business community to eliminate single-use plastic bags from the local waste stream.
“One large store here in town is all for it,” he said. “We all know that paper bags will decompose. So we might as well start somewhere to help our environment.”
Mayor Desjardins indicated he wants to meet first with members of Clarence-Rockland’s business community on a plan to phase out single-use plastic bags within the community. He also wants the Clarence-Rockland Chamber of Commerce involved in those discussions.
To read this article in French, go to page 3 of the Vision, March 11 2020 edition at