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Single-Use Waste Reduction

Effective Jan. 1, 2020 the distribution of single-use plastic retail bags will be prohibited.Single Use

Plastics play an important role in our day-to-day lives, however the quantity of throw-away plastics we use are causing huge environmental challenges because of their use is so short and they take a very long time to break-down. The first step is to reduce our amount of redundant plastic use. This is a simple step that can make a huge difference. It’s easy: Do your part and bring your re-usable bags when you shop!

Municipalities across Alberta are joining others across Canada and the globe to reduce the amount of single-use items in their waste and recycling streams. Devon is at the forefront of this initiative in Alberta and plans to continue to be a leader in environmental stewardship.

Single-Use Plastic Retail Bag Bylaw

Single UseOn Nov. 25, Devon Council provided Devon's Single-Use Plastic Retail Bag Bylaw which prohibits the distribution of single-use plastic retail bags by all retail locations in Devon. This is Devon's first step towards reducing single use waste in the community.

Exemptions from the Bylaw

The Single-Use Plastic Retail Bag Bylaw does contain some exemptions including:

  1. Plastic bags used for:
    • carrying fruits and/or vegetables,
    • containing fresh meat or fish products,
    • containing bulk food items (i.e. candy, nuts, grains, etc.) or bulk hardware items (i.e. screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) that are not pre-packaged,
    • freshly prepared bakery items or other food items,
    • wrapping flowers or potted plants,
    • clothes immediately following professional laundering or dry-cleaning,
    • dirty, greasy, or hazardous products or materials.

  2. Single-use plastic retail bags distributed by a non-profit; a food bank, a homeless shelter or an animal shelter, in its normal course of business.

  3. The sale of multiple or bulk, prepackaged single-use plastic bags (i.e. blue bags and garbage bags).

  4. Pre-packaged items purchased from distributors and sold in store.


Reusable bags provided by the Town

The Town will be providing two (2) reusable bags to each household, featuring the designs from local Devon artists as selected by the Art Association of Devon through a contest earlier this year. The contest was held for two age categories: under 15 and over 15.

The bags will be available in late 2019. To get in the practice, we encourage residents to bring reusable bags they shop prior to January 1, 2020.

Single Use

 

A plastic bag that is designed for a single-use to carry purchased products from a retail establishment to a place of residence and thrown away. These bags are less than 2 mils (0.05 millimetres) thick and are commonly known as plastic “checkout bags”.

These are items that are designed to be used once and then thrown away. Common single-use items include plastic retail bags, polystyrene (Styrofoam) serving trays and bowls, plastic straws, plastic utensils, coffee stir sticks and stoppers, and polystyrene, plastic or paper cups.

The first and simplest step in waste management is waste reduction. We can all easily reduce the waste we produce. A simple first step is to use re-usable bags/containers when shopping. The amount of redundant packaging and single-use plastic used globally is creating large environmental and human health concerns.

There are 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags used annually around the globe. While single-use items are convenient, they have a great negative impact on our environment. These items are designed to be used once and disposed of, yet can take thousands of years to break down. It is estimated there are over 1.3 million single-use plastic retail bags used by Devonians annually.

In addition, North America relies on foreign markets to recycle our materials. With recent changes, places like China will reject shipments of recyclables that are contaminated with many of these single-use items.

Yes. There are exemptions stated in the bylaw.

1. Single-use plastic retail bags used for:

  • carrying fruits or vegetables
  • containing fresh meat or fish products;
  • containing bulk food items (i.e. candy, nuts, grains, etc.) or bulk hardware items (i.e. screws, nuts, bolts, etc.);
  • freshly prepared bakery items or other food items;
  • wrapping flowers or potted plants;
  • clothes immediately following professional laundering or dry-cleaning;
  • dirty, greasy, or hazardous products or materials.

2. Single-use plastic retail bags distributed by a non-profit; a food bank, a homeless shelter or an animal shelter, in its normal course of business.

3. The sale of multiple or bulk, prepackaged single-use plastic bags (i.e. blue bags and garbage bags).

4. Pre-packaged items purchased from distributors.

Yes. As of January 1, 2020, there will be penalties in accordance with Schedule A of the bylaw and a verbal warning will be issued for a first offence.

Yes. In-fact, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo adopted a “Single-Use Shopping Bag Bylaw” in September of 2010. Other Alberta municipalities with active bylaws or that are discussing single-use waste reduction strategies include:

  • Banff
  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Okotoks
  • Spruce Grove
  • St. Albert
  • Wetaskiwin

Many companies are also working to reduce waste within their organizations and are implementing single-use waste reduction plans and new types of packaging to reduce their environmental impacts and to cut unnecessary costs. These companies include Sobeys, A&W, IKEA, McDonalds, and Proctor & Gamble.

Retail establishments can use-up existing stock until the bylaw takes effect on January 1, 2020. Residents are encouraged to use existing bags as many times as possible. If you can’t use excess bags, please consider donating to local churches, charities or non-profits that will accept them.

Some options for small containers at home include:

  • Don’t use a bag in small containers
  • Use a bag as a “liner” and dump just the contents into your large garbage, so the liner in small container can be used multiple times
  • Paper towel, Kleenex, and other soiled paper can be dumped straight into your organics bin. Cardboard toilet paper rolls are recyclable and can go into your recycling.

Currently, #1 and #2 rigid plastics are recyclable. These include items like shampoo/bodywash bottles, cleaning bottles, large yogurt containers, ketchup bottles, and other items found on the Detailed Sorting List.

Plastic items that are not recyclable include plastic bags, bubble wrap, Styrofoam, plastic cutlery and dishes, solo cups, plastic straws, plastic lids and plastic clamshell containers (usually used to hold baked goods, fruit trays and other foods).

All recyclables must be rinsed/emptied with lids removed.

Make sure blue bag is full before taking it out for collection. This will use less bags.

Single UseThe Single Use Waste Reduction Task Force is a task-oriented working group appointed by Council that will be responsible for engaging the Devon community to gain input and provide recommendations to Council at specified milestones or when a decision is necessary involving single use waste reduction.

The Task Force is being formed in response to Devon's initiative to reduce waste in our community, particularly single-use items such as plastics and Styrofoam. Members will be selected through an application process based on Boards of Council application processes.

Applications closed August 1, 2019

The Waste Reduction Task Force consists of five (5) members of the community, one member of Council and the Town's Environment and Sustainability Coordinator.

Single-Use Waste Reduction Waste Task Force Meeting Summaries

September 24, 2019 Meeting

The Task Force provided input on the development of a bylaw to restrict the distribution of single-use plastic retail bags in Devon by retail establishments. They discussed challenges and opportunities facing this initiative, as well as ideas for communicating the initiative to businesses and residents.

October 29, 2019 Meeting

The Task Force discussed the Single-Use Plastic Retail Bag Bylaw that had received first reading from Town Council at the October 15th council meeting. Any proposed amendments were discussed, as well as discussion about the feedback from Town Council. The bylaw and a letter were shared with businesses in the previous week and this was discussed with the Task Force. The Task Force shared ideas around next steps for communications.

November 19, 2019 Meeting

The Bylaw received one final review after the Task Force reviewed any concerns received from businesses during the feedback process. The bylaw was finalized to be taken to Town Council on November 25th for second and third readings. The Task Force discussed communications and information to include on the website, including ideas for small garbage containers at home and other FAQS. The Task Force also designed a draft poster/decal for businesses to place at their business to notify customers of the new initiative in Devon.

Waste Free Edmonton - Single-Use Plastics

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