GUELPH POLITICAST #132 – Plastic Free Guelph

Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean there’s a big floating mass of plastic that’s roughly three times the size of France. While it’s true that much of that plastic is fishing equipment, and about two-fifths of it comes from just five countries in southeast Asia, it’s making us all think about our wasteful ways, especially when it comes to plastic.

Plastic Free Guelph put forward a bold suggestion a few weeks ago: ban single-use plastic grocery bags in the city. It’s been tied before, but it’s so far only been done successfully once. On Canada Day, Victoria, B.C. became the first city in the country to ban the bag, overcoming a B.C. Supreme Court challenge in order to do it.

Fear of litigation has always seemed to be the thing holding back the bans, so has Victoria shown us the way? Perhaps. On the other hand, maybe we’re all just ready to look at our wasteful plastic bags for what they’re really are: waste.

Look at the campaign to end the use of plastic straws. In Guelph, it was a local effort aimed at the mom and pop restaurants downtown, but a chorus of activists pushing for the move locally have prompted companies like McDonalds, Harvey’s, The Keg, and now Starbucks, to all ban plastic straws. We’re banning straws! Is it really so hard to picture bags as the next plastic domino to fall?

It’s not for Plastic Free Guelph, and on this week’s podcast, PFG’s executive director Shayne Ward discusses the reasons why the time is right to ban the bag. Ward answers some of the counter-arguments to the ban, talks about the thinking and the process behind the band, and why now’s the time to have this discussion. At the end, Ward also teases about where the anti-plastic effort goes after bags…

So let’s bag our talking points and get into this week’s Guelph Politicast!

The Plastic Free Guelph proposal to ban single use plastic shopping bags will come before city council on Monday July 23, and the agenda for that meeting should be available this Thursday on the City website. You can also follow the efforts of Plastic Free Guelph by following them on social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday’s episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

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