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City of Calgary considers municipal role on single-use plastics

WATCH: One-time-use plastics are a big problem for the planet, taking up space and costing countless dollars to be sent to the landfill. The City of Calgary is now looking into these single-use plastics and how to manage them.

The City of Calgary is looking at ways to protect the planet as a debate about waste reduction gets underway.

A discussion around one-time plastics is set for Wednesday.

Items like plastic straws, utensils and styrofoam containers are disposable and end up in city landfills.

There is now a political consideration to impose an outright ban on single-use plastics, but Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas isn’t convinced.

“I am very reluctant to look to heavy-handed government solutions like outright bans and it’s not even clear whether we have that legal authority,” Farkas said Tuesday.

“Where I want to see us go is allowing the private sector to innovate.”

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LISTEN: Ward 7 councillor Druh Farrell joins Rob Breakenridge to discuss the reasons for Calgary to consider curbing its single-use plastic products

Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland said he’s looking at creative ways to reuse plastics.

“Banning doesn’t solve the issue and it’s the same thing with stored plastics. We’re looking at roads, whether or not it can be shredded and put in asphalt,” Sutherland said.

Canary Goods.
Canary Goods. Jill Croteau

There is also a consideration to levy fees to businesses using single-use plastics. Many businesses are already taking a proactive approach. Canary, a refillery in Calgary, is advocating for zero waste.

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LISTEN: Ward 14 councillor Peter Demong joins The Morning News to discuss single-use plastics in Calgary

It’s a one-stop shop where consumers can bring their own containers and get them filled with home and beauty products. Co-owner Lisa Watts said consumers will come to demand it.

“We need to start focusing on the way we are consuming, how we are producing products and getting rid of them and where they are headed,” Watts said.

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Craft Beer Market is another business taking a sustainable approach. Executive chef Dave Phillips said it makes good business sense to invest in better waste management. Craft has voluntarily chosen to get rid of their plastics and opt for compostable takeout boxes and straws made from corn.

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Craft Beer Market in Calgary.
Craft Beer Market in Calgary. Jill Croteau

“The biggest thing is about being true to our core values and our abilities to promote sustainability and protect the planet,” Phillips said.

“For us, a couple of cents more in terms of a package to be able to deliver that to a guest is a no brainer.”

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A report on some options for municipalities is scheduled to go to council’s utility committee Wednesday.

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