Surrey – The Surrey Board of Trade is calling on the Provincial Government, and ultimately the Federal Government, to work in coordination towards a pathway that eliminates single-use plastics.
Plastic packaging accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste globally, and much of it is thrown away within just a few minutes of its first use. Any plastic that has no number for recycling which include items such as trash bags, Ziplock bags, cereal bags, bubble wrap, clear plastic wrap, some plastic store bags, single cheese wrappers, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles, most food packaging, toys, potato chip bags, candy wrappers, plastic rings that hold six-packs of beer or soda bottles and cans, are all examples of single-use plastics.
“There are innovative industry opportunities that are available now, or that can be developed, that will lead to new employment opportunities,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
“The world produces hundreds of millions of tons of plastic every year, most of which cannot be recycled. It’s obvious that we need to use less plastic, move towards environmentally sustainable products and services, and come up with technology that recycles plastic more efficiently.”
In some cases, the plastics do not produce enough reusable material to make recycling economically viable, or there is no market for a particular type of plastic. Some plastics do not mix with others, and the components separate, similar to oil and water. Other types of plastics are made with polymerization techniques that bind dyes and other chemicals to the actual molecules, making removal of contaminants impossible or extremely costly.
The City of Surrey has worked extremely well with food providers. At all city events single-use plastics are not permitted and items either have to be recyclable or bio-disposable. The use of polystyrene (styrofoam) by the food industry is one of the major manufacturers of “dirty Styrofoam”.
The Surrey Board of Trade is calling on the BC Government to:
1. Enact regulation under the BC Environmental Management Act to gradually phase out use of “single-use plastics” in BC to align with the objectives of the Clean BC Plan which focuses on environmental and industrial sustainability;
2. Commission a one-year study through industry, businesses, educational institutions to research alternatives to single-use plastic and commit to a timeframe for complete removal of such material from the waste stream in BC;
3. Work with the food and beverage industry to see the elimination of the production of dirty Styrofoam. This could be done through education and through incentives to industries to produce recyclable products and or biodegradable (to be accepted by biofuel plants); and,
4. Implement an awareness campaign to help consumers understand that plastic overwrap and other flexible plastics can be taken to recycle depots.