Whitehorse Daily Star

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Kate White

Single-use plastic ban to be studied

The Yukon legislature has approved a motion that will see the government study the elimination of single-use plastic.

By Whitehorse Star on November 2, 2018

The Yukon legislature has approved a motion that will see the government study the elimination of single-use plastic.

Wednesday’s debate centred on NDP MLA Kate White’s motion calling on the government to take immediate steps to eliminate single-use plastic.

The debate took place mere days after the European Parliament voted to ban a wide-range of single-use plastic items as early as 2021.

“Single-use plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose,” said White. 

“The amount of plastic waste going into our landfills is costing governments, and the impact of plastic pollution on our wilderness and our oceans is well-known – it’s time for government to act.”

She warned that the government must make its words meaningful.

“Adopting a motion is one thing – putting it into action is another and without political will, nothing will change.”

NDP Leader Liz Hanson urged the government to make a firm commitment to a ban accompanied by a clear timeline.

“There’s no reason this government can’t announce a ban on single-use plastic with a transition period of one or two years to work with industry to implement the change,” she said. “It takes political courage, but if the European Union can do it on such a large scale, there’s no reason we can’t do it in Yukon.”

The Liberals amended the motion to urge the government to work toward a ban, with no specific timeline.

Comments (10)

Up 0 Down 0

Chélie Elsom on Nov 19, 2018 at 10:14 am

It’s about time Canadian communities start doing something about single-use plastic pollution!! But what we really NEED is a national plastic strategy to provide the guidance and framework so we have a cohesive and comprehensive national plan. Our current system is fractured and confusing. If you agree, please sign petition 1834! It will be tabled in the House if Commons in January. Here’s the link: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1834

Up 1 Down 0

Charlie's Aunt on Nov 8, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Is this focused only on the plastic shopping bags? What about the fresh veggie plastic bags that are provided on a roll or are we expected to throw them loose in the cart? In the past we had brown paper bags, but they were dispensed with. Not saying they should be free, but they do compost and had other 2nd hand uses. I try to take my personal bags, but so called cloth ones might not always be plastic free & they need cleaning after a while, others are plastic & both types wear out eventually.
Traveling on public transportation requires bags, but for those with their own vehicle what's the big deal with packing pre packaged items (tins & boxes) loose in vehicle & then running indoors to find the bag you forgot when you reach home? If I really need to buy plastic bags I try & reuse because I know what has been in it, but to reuse someone else's - forget it. There are also a bunch of other ways to reuse those bags before they are trashed. Big target for plastic free are the producers, why does a pre-made pizza need to be shrink wrapped on plastic coated cardboard, boxed & then shrink wrapped again? Our meds mostly come in plastic bottles to preserve & prevent contamination, what's the answer for that?

Up 2 Down 10

At home in the Yukon on Nov 8, 2018 at 11:14 am

I'm with @BNR on this one. I always use single-use bags more than once. For instance, I have a bag of bags in my trunk that I bring shopping with me. Some have been used a dozen times.

I propose three motivators, however.
1, Increase the store bag fee to 10 cents from 5 cents.
2, Make it mandatory! If clerks give bags out for free, fine the store. It won't take very long and bags will be charged for, and people will be pushed to reduce, reuse, rethink and recycle.
3, Require that the major stores offer an obvious bag recycling program. Maybe even allow recycled bags to be used for free.

Up 11 Down 2

Josey Wales on Nov 6, 2018 at 9:19 pm

Hey BnR...not really certain what exactly is your issue, or more precisely your issue with me?
No it is not “self defeating” for me, ya got my name wrong...again.
You absolutely reek of a passive aggressive coward, always with a personal attack, seldom with any argument of any type, poor or well thought out?

One thing I am very certain of based on perusing your participation, cannot imagine you ever beating me at scrabble, and on current events, geopolitical, and historical....shredded you would be.
Rather than your six year old spoiled girl shtick of constantly poking with a stick and running to tell the teacher some BS.

Maybe take a midol, read a few more books...and re-engage with some citable facts.
Is it born ‘n raised, or brain not running?
My grammar sucks yes BnR...stupid I am not.
If I were actually stupid, I would not be the clear and present danger to the rabid leftists, the SJW’s, the fem-nazis, political power trippers, cultural supremacists, group thinking chanters, eco zealots....and ewe.
...that I very clearly am.
Have a good day...Lucy with the football, I’d rather chat with peppermint patty or hang with snoopy than feed ewe anymore than I have today.

Up 12 Down 1

north_of_60 on Nov 6, 2018 at 6:39 pm

Plastic grocery bags are not the problem and banning them is facile virtue signaling that accomplishes nothing meaningful. They're easily collected and recycled because they're seldom contaminated with food residue.

But the problem with recycling most plastic, in a nutshell, is peanut butter.
Plastic that's contaminated with food still inside — peanut butter being the most common example is more work to clean than it's worth and also hard for many industrial sorting machines to separate. Other recyclables can also present a problem, including black plastic containers and the thin plastic film that covers many packages.

What happens to the plastic we recycle that's too contaminated to re-process? Raven is evasive on answers to that question.

Natural gas is used to make plastic. The plastic is used to wrap food, keep it fresh and relatively un-contaminated. It's also widely used to wrap products to reduce damage and pilferage.
Once the plastic has served it's purpose it can be burned like natural gas to provide heat and electricity if it's too contaminated to re-process.
Why is this so difficult for so many people to understand?

Up 14 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Nov 5, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Your creativity and willingness to adapt items determines how single use these things may be. Grocery bags can be reused in a multitude of ways. In our house these grocery bags from the local stores are used in the rack under the sink to haul away that which remains in the bag that brought it in. When full these get put into a green garbage bag for a trip to the land fill. So which one is single use?
Heat formed plastic packaging is what I consider to be single use, because it has no other practical value as it was heat formed to the article in a security smart blister pack. I suspect the plastic jars the government sells its pot in are also considered single use. If growing pot in a house renders the house unuseable, I imagine there will be some restrictions on reusing pot containers - so declaring them single use is probably the simplest way to deal with it. Or perhaps charge a deposit to ensure their prompt return before somebody starts their radish plants in them.
I see the opportunity for this debate to get real interesting.

Up 19 Down 3

Max Mack on Nov 5, 2018 at 12:43 pm


"Single-use" plastic bags are not single use. Many people use these bags for a host of reasons. Eliminating "single-use plastic bags" will mean that folks have to find an alternative bag - possibly also plastic - to fill the void.

Replacing "single-use plastic bags" with "multi-use bags", such as cloth or thicker polypropylene, do not result in a net gain to the environment. These bags take additional resources to manufacture and take longer to degrade in the environment. And let's not forget the increased risk of disease through reuse of contaminated bags for packing groceries.

The Yukon is not responsible for ocean pollution through "single-use plastic bags". Our contribution to that is so small as to be non-existent.

"Single-use plastic bags" in the local environment are unsightly, to be sure. But, the reality is that the total contribution by either weight or volume is next to zero. YTG and municipalities encourage non-profit groups each year to clean up roadsides, and these programs are not going to stop if "single-use plastic bags" are banned. So, we keep paying to clean up the roadside anyway.

But, the kicker is that we already give organizations like Raven Recycling MILLIONS of dollars of public money to recycle those very plastic bags.
I have purchased dozens upon dozens of "multi-use" shopping bags. Guess what? Most have been taken by my kids and left somewhere. Some bags simply became worn out, or the bag broke, or the bag became too dirty to keep using. So, I'm actually worse off for trying to be "environmentally conscientious".

So, tell me . . . who is "krazy"?

Up 11 Down 13

BnR on Nov 4, 2018 at 5:36 pm

"Imagine how sweet it would be if we could ban stupid......"
Kind of self defeating for you to suggest that José, no?
And really Max? The environment would suffer for banning single use plastics? That's some Info Wars level krazy right there.

Up 19 Down 12

Josey Wales on Nov 3, 2018 at 10:33 pm

A quote from the late Ronald Regan...”nine words you never want to hear. I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

We hear this so so much up here, that a revisit of a few wise words is in order.
These days it seems we are mere livestock, bending over for a drink outta the stagnant waters....in the swamp.
Remember those nine words, and act accordingly please or you will get pulled into the water.

Speaking of single use, looking forward to our next election.
I suggest a ban on bans, allowing adults to think and act as ...well adults.
Suprised Kate has not been forced into a name change, with such a triggering last name?
The historical gates of trauma must bend the hinges each time they are flung open, post trigger event?
Imagine how sweet it would be if we could ban stupid along with the PC Crusade?

Up 20 Down 14

Max Mack on Nov 3, 2018 at 10:07 pm

The virtue-signalling never ends. Please, for the love of all that is virtuous, put an end to this nonsense.
The costs of banning plastic bags outweighs any perceived benefits, and the environment, the economy, and residents will suffer for it.

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