Esquimalt eyes plastic bag-free zone

Marlene Lagoa

Esquimalt is making history in the Capital Region as the first municipality to spearhead a new plastic-bag-free initiative.

A team of five Royal Roads University environmental science students has been working since January to determine the best way to encourage residents and business owners to stop using plastic bags – an estimated 500 billion to a trillion of these are used globally each year.

“(Reducing plastic bag use) is doable because plastic bags only came into existence in the 1970s,” said Marlene Lagoa, Esquimalt’s sustainability co-ordinator. “People found a way around it before.”

B.C. municipalities are not permitted by the province to levy an outright ban, and plastic bags are not allowed in curbside recycling blue boxes in Greater Victoria.

And instead of following other communities that have voluntary bans, Esquimalt council hopes to have an education campaign in place by Dec. 31. So far, the project has cost the township $500 in administration costs.

“If there’s ever a time for ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality, it’s this,” said student Ryan Murphy. “This is not going to be a costly endeavor to anyone. This is really about changing people’s minds.”

To gauge consumption habits, ideas and concerns of consumers, Murphy’s team recently surveyed 355 shoppers on four different occasions at two busy shopping areas in Esquimalt: Esquimalt Plaza and Place Valentine, at the corner of Esquimalt Road and Head Street.

They learned 25 per cent of people said they never take plastic bags from stores. Of those who do, 29 per cent said they forget their reusable bags at home, 15 per cent forget them in their vehicle and 14 per cent use plastic bags for other reasons.

Still, 75 per cent said they support going plastic bag-free.

“It shows us that people are really receptive to using reusable bags,” said Lagoa, but added it also indicates that education is needed.

“It does take consciousness and awareness to build sustainable practices.”

Students will draft recommendations that will go before Esquimalt’s environmental advisory committee and council this fall.

To complete an online questionnaire, please visit www.esquimalt.ca/plasticbagfree.

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

The shores will not rock in 2019

Atomique Productions announce Rock the Shores festival will not return in 2019, future is uncertain

Video shows logging operation on disputed Saturna Island land

Tsawout First Nation members opposed to logging on reserve land

Family still searching for missing Langford man two weeks after disappearance

Family hopeful he is alive, offering $10,000 reward

Victoria police concerned about missing man’s well-being

Delmer was reported missing on March 19

Fracking, economy, climate at centre of Green Party town hall in Metchosin

Green Party leader Elizabeth May and local candidate David Merner take questions from community

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Most Read