Edmonton councillors, businesses mixed over idea of plastic bag ban

Conversations start up on plastic bag ban
WATCH ABOVE: Should Edmonton consider a plastic bag ban? The conversation is getting started, again, following news Montreal will be banning the bags in 2018. But there's mixed reviews from residents as well as city councillors. Julia Wong reports.

EDMONTON – It seems the conversation is starting up again in Edmonton over whether the city should ban plastic bags.

Montreal announced it will ban plastic bags starting Jan. 1, 2018. It’s an idea that some business owners support.

Karen Thiessen has owned DaDeO on Whyte Avenue for 16 years. The restaurant stopped using plastic bags for take-out six years ago.

“I feel like everybody has to do their part, right?” she said. “When you can use paper bags, the options are out there and I think everybody should switch.”

“We all know what’s happening with the environment and how bad they are for the environment.”

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The city looked at a plastic bag ban several years ago, and Ward 8 Councillor Ben Henderson said it may be worth looking at again.

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“I don’t know what the implications are and how the bans play out. It would be interesting to see how it’s worked in some other municipalities,” he said.

“The advantage of another city doing something like that is you get to know how it worked, how effective it was and what the best ways are of doing it.”

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Henderson said the city recycles plastic bags and the bigger issue with the bags is littering, which is why he personally supports a ban.

“They get in trees. They blow in fences. They get all over the place. We’re trying to create less waste and not more,” he said.

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But not all councillors are on board – Ward 1 Councillor Andrew Knack said Edmontonians are good when it comes to recycling and a plastic bag ban is not on his radar.

“I don’t really have an appetite myself,” he said.

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“It almost seems a little bit redundant to pass a bylaw saying that when the majority of Edmontonians already understand the need to use reusable bags, to not use those plastic bags.”

Several stores like Shoppers Drug Mart and No Frills charge customers five cents for a plastic bag.

But for Camilla Cuglietta, manager of the Italian Centre, plastic bags are important for advertising as well as for customers.

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The centre offers plastic bags to customers at the registers.

“I just think it’s convenience. When people come shopping, when you’re on the run, you’re stopping to get groceries, you don’t always have boxes with you, reusable bags with you,” she said.

“We still need to offer an option for people that don’t always have that available.”

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