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Local companies find pre-emptive ban on single-use plastics is good business, expert says

Last Updated Jun 10, 2019 at 5:02 pm PDT

FILE - Plastic cutlery is pictured in North Vancouver, B.C. Monday, June, 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

More restaurants and other businesses need to show they're dedicated to ending climate change, Chan says

The ban may take effect as early as 2021

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Some high-profile local restaurants, including White Spot and A&W, aren’t waiting for a federal ban on harmful single-use plastics like straws to kick in. But one UBC professor says too many companies are taking a wait-and-see approach.

RELATED: Styrofoam take-out boxes and straws among expected targets of plastics ban

Kai Chan, who works at the university’s Institute for Oceans and Fisheries, says more restaurants and other businesses need to show they’re dedicated to ending climate change as soon as possible.

“It is nowhere near what’s needed when it’s just on a voluntary basis,” he says. “You see some companies that are showing that kind of leadership but then others don’t, just because it’s not that convenient or they’re busy with other things or whatever. So it’s really important, then, to have legislation to follow up once it’s been shown that it’s feasible to actually make it mandatory for everybody.”

Chan says consumer demand is already showing this is good business.

“I’m sure that we will see more and more companies taking this kind of a stance as they realize how important the issue is and how feasible, really, the solutions are and that now, with the signal from the federal government, the legislation is coming down the pike.”

RELATED: A breaking point: Ottawa announces plan to ban single-use plastics

BC Ferries already banned single-use plastics, and Astrid Braunschmidt says they’ve already had good results.

“We took the initiative to remove plastic straws from our food service operations last year and essentially, that removed about 180,000 single use plastic straws from our waste streams every month,” she says.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has only suggested the ban might take effect as early as 2021, and he has yet to explain which products are covered.