City invites input on proposed regulation of single-use items

The City of Kingston is seeking input from residents and businesses regarding the regulation of retail single-use plastic shopping bags and polystyrene food containers. Photo by Morgan Vander Hart.

In considering the regulation of retail single-use plastic bags and polystyrene containers, the City of Kingston is asking for input from local businesses and residents.

In August of 2019, the Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation Policies Committee recommended that City Staff prepare for the possibility that federal or provincial policies and controls on single-use plastics may not occur. As part of that recommendation, the Committee directed Staff to conduct public engagement on eliminating single-use plastic retail shopping bags and polystyrene food containers. After gathering input from the public, City Staff will report to the Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee with a bylaw or other method to eliminate retail shopping bags and polystyrene food containers. Staff is expected to report back to the Committee by mid-2020.

In order to do so, the City is now hosting a survey on the matter, which will remain open until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.

“The City knows that any regulations around single-use items would directly impact both chain and independent businesses and restaurants along with other user groups. Business owners and managers are being encouraged to complete the survey,” the City said in a press release on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.

The survey is hosted on the website here, and offers two survey options: one for residents, and one for business owners.

The survey seeks input on:

  • Proposed timelines for phasing out single-use retail plastic bags and polystyrene take-out containers.
  • Potential exemptions
  • Potential alternatives

“It’s time to stop producing needless waste. There is no doubt these items are convenient, but they generate huge amounts of waste – along with the greenhouse gases and other environmental impacts associated with managing that waste,” said Paul MacLatchy, Environment Director for the City of Kingston.

According to the City, many jurisdictions across Canada are in the process of banning or have already banned single-use plastic retail shopping bags, along with other single-use plastic items like straws and cutlery. These jurisdictions include: Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and many municipalities across Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

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