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4 in 5 British Columbians support a federal ban on single use plastic: poll

Bottles full of single-use plastic waste are shown in Cape Town, South Africa, in this May 30, 2018 file photo.
Bottles full of single-use plastic waste are shown in Cape Town, South Africa, in this May 30, 2018 file photo. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

A strong majority of British Columbians would back a federal ban on single-use plastics, according to a new poll from Insights West.

In June, the federal Liberal government proposed a ban on “harmful” single-use plastics across the country by 2021.

According to the survey, 81 per cent of respondents support the proposed ban, while 88 per cent said they were worried about the impact of single-use plastics.

READ MORE: Trudeau eyeing a Canadian ban on single-use plastics by 2021

The poll found levels of support virtually unchanged among age groups, at 83 per cent among those aged 18-34, 77 per cent among those aged 35-54, and 83 per cent for those over 55.

Women (87 per cent) were more likely to support the ban than men (74 per cent).

Questions about federal ban on single-use plastics
Questions about federal ban on single-use plastics

The poll also asked British Columbians about a number of activities that could reduce plastic use.

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It found that more than two-thirds (71 per cent) bring their own shopping bags to avoid using plastic, while 68 per cent use a reusable waterbottle.

READ MORE: Would you pay a higher bottle deposit to keep plastic out of the ocean?

Just over half of respondents said they use a reusable coffee mug rather than a disposable cup, while one in four people claimed they use reusable straws.

However, the poll also found that about 12 per cent of people said they “frequently” order takeout food, and one in five said they frequently order online items for delivery that come wrapped in extra plastic.

According to the federal government, less than 10 per cent of plastic used in Canada is recycled, with an estimated three million tonnes of plastic waste thrown out every year in the country.

Tofino and Ucluelet introduce single-use plastics ban on World Oceans Day
Tofino and Ucluelet introduce single-use plastics ban on World Oceans Day

The value of plastic Canadians throw in the trash is expected to climb to $11 billion every year by 2030, according to federal officials.

Ottawa estimates that about one-third of the plastics used in Canada is single-use, including up to 15 billion plastic bags every year and 57 million plastic straws every day.

READ MORE: Here’s how much plastic you might be eating every day

Last year, the federal government banned the import and manufacturing of toiletries containing plastic microbeads.

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British Columbia conducted its own public consultation earlier this year over regulating and potentially banning some single-use plastic items.

B.C. already requires producers of many types of recyclable waste to manage its processing through an industry organization called Recycle BC. End-use consumers often pay an eco-fee for these products.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 13 to 26 among a representative sample of 1,670 B.C. adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error is +/- 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.