Cities in B.C. are now allowed to ban single-use plastics like bags, but Mayor John Dooley says there’s no plans for that in Nelson. Photo: Tim Samuel/Pexels

Cities in B.C. are now allowed to ban single-use plastics like bags, but Mayor John Dooley says there’s no plans for that in Nelson. Photo: Tim Samuel/Pexels

Nelson mayor says city won’t reconsider single-use plastics ban

The province announced this week municipalities can enact their own bans on items like plastic bags

Mayor John Dooley says there is currently no plan to revisit a ban on single-use plastics in Nelson.

B.C. environment minister George Heyman announced Tuesday that local governments no longer require provincial approval to ban items such as plastic bags and straws.

Over 20 municipalities in B.C. are developing such bylaws, but Dooley says Nelson isn’t one of them and wouldn’t enact a ban without public consultation.

Nelson city council previously debated the ban of single-use plastic bags in 2019, but opted instead for an educational campaign.

“We’ve noticed in the past that when we work with people we generally get the kind of results we want, so we’d have to have a conversation with the community,” Dooley said Thursday.

Although communities such as Rossland are taking proactive steps on bans, that work may eventually be made redundant by the federal government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised a national ban on some single-use plastics to be enacted as early as this year.

Dooley said he thinks more local businesses are already making changes ahead of mandated bans. Valhalla Pure on Baker Street, for example, stopped carrying plastic bags in 2017, while Kootenay Co-op ditched plastic cutlery in favour of wood replacements.

“Now that the provincial government has to decided to pass it on to municipalities, I think businesses themselves will probably conform as time goes by.”

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change says more than 340,000 tonnes of plastic items were disposed of in B.C. in 2019, the equivalent of 65 kilograms of waste per person in one year.

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@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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Plastic Bag Ban