Motion inspired by similar undertaking in Victoria
By Jillian McMullen, Staff Writer
Lorrie Williams, a New Westminster city councillor, wants to see fewer plastic bags and straws end up in landfills.
Williams tabled a motion during a city council meeting February 19 which would ban the sale and use of single-use plastic items such as plastic bags and take-out containers by 2019. That motion was later amended to direct City staff to explore options for plastic waste reduction.
The motion comes in light of the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District approving a recommendation to determine ways of reducing plastic waste.
Williams said she was inspired by the City of Victoria, which recently put forward a similar motion.
“I was quite moved by the fact that Victoria had done the same thing,” she said during the council meeting. “They are being taken to court and challenged by the plastic [industry] people.”
While she would like to see a reduction in plastic items, Williams promised that her motion would not be an outright ban.
“I think that in some instances, there are exceptions and there are uses for plastic bags,” she said. “What I’m truly attempting to do is cut down on the use of unnecessary plastic bags because those are the ones that end up in the landfills and are blowing around … looking like jellyfish and getting into the stomachs of wildlife.”
Input from the public should help guide the plastic-reduction process, according to Williams.
“We should also should refer to the businesses in our city and get their cooperation on this and get their input as to how we can best go about this,” she said.
Williams said educating the public will be a key factor in the endeavor.
“We can convince people that they don’t need as much plastic as we are using,” Williams said. “There is a need for plastic and it isn’t going to go away. But I think it should be a sensible and a very efficient use of plastic—not unnecessary single-use ones.”
She hopes that a similar effort can be adopted throughout the Lower Mainland.
“I am hoping the whole of Metro Vancouver will come onside,” she said. “I think with this, if it’s a regional thing it will have much more of an impact.”