Common sense stifled
In my former role as the Conservative Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, one of the topics I wrote about a few times was the Liberal’s proposed ban on single-use plastics.
This ban targeted only certain plastics, including grocery store bags, straws, coffee stir sticks, six-pack can rings, plastic cutlery, and specific food-takeout containers.
At the time, I did hear some concerns. However, there was also some support.
The topic of grocery bags arose from several citizens who took the time to contact me. They pointed out that they kept their plastic grocery store bags and would reuse them as garbage bags. They also questioned that this move would only force them to purchase plastic garbage bags (that still can be bought) and felt that this policy did not make sense because of these factors.
Recently, the Calgary-based Co-Op grocery store chain working in partnership with LEAF Environmental Products, developed compostable plastic bags made from a biodegradable polymer and a by-product from fermented corn starch.
These new bags require a specialty composting system that the City of Calgary has since installed in its municipal landfill. In summary, this is a win/win scenario where technology helps solve an environmental pollution problem.
There is only one problem. The Liberal Government in Ottawa has, so far, refused to exempt these new biodegradable bags from the single-use plastics ban.
To add insult to injury, as a consumer, you can still purchase recycled garbage bags sold in bulk from local retailers. However, you cannot buy a compostable plastic bag from the same retailers at checkout.
The federal ban on single-use plastic bags will go into effect on December 20th, 2023.
From my perspective, this is yet another example of the one size fits all “Ottawa knows best” approach that lacks common sense and can potentially stifle Canadian environmental innovation.
If this partnership in Calgary invested in the technology to break down these compostable bags while ensuring these bags are safely broken down, why wouldn’t the Trudeau Liberal
Government allow this common-sense pro-environment innovation to be exempted from the ban?
At times, it appears that this Liberal Government will stubbornly continue to support environmental policies that favour sticks instead of carrots, such as the carbon tax and clean fuel standard. They argue that these policies are the best way to incentivize investment in innovation. However, when a municipality uses their scarce taxpayer dollars to install such an investment, the Trudeau Government blocks it. It’s a lose-lose-lose proposition for consumers, the Co-Op, and the City of Calgary.
My question to you this week: would you support exempting these compostable plastic bags from the single-use plastic ban in regions that invest in the landfill infrastructure to process them properly? Why or why not?
Contact me at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.