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Vancouver business concerned as reliance on single-use plastics rises during pandemic

Last Updated May 19, 2020 at 7:51 pm PDT

FILE: A woman carries a plastic bag at a market in Montreal on June 13, 2019. The mayor of Victoria says she's disappointed Canada's highest court won't reconsider a lower court ruling that stopped her city from regulating single-use plastic bags, but Lisa Helps says there are other ways to eliminate the items. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Plastic bags are the norm again at the grocery store and other places thanks to this pandemic

Mellisa Mills of SpreadEm Kitchen says when e-usable bag restrictions are relaxed, we might use more plastic bags

She's concerned that this could also lead to another wave of plastic harming the environment

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Chances are your trips to the grocery and liquor stores over the past two months have led to a major increase in plastic bags in your home.

Single-use plastics have become the norm again during this pandemic, and Mellisa Mills of the Vancouver-based Spred’em Kitchen says this might convince us to take better care of our reusable bags and mugs once we’re allowed to break them out again.

“I know a lot of people don’t ever wash their reusable bags or sanitize their reusable cups, and I think people will take that a little more seriously, and add it to their regular routine,” she says.

Mills says grocery stores could pivot to things like cardboard boxes — something that’s worked effectively for big purchases at liquor stores.

“There’s lots of easy things you can do. Tons of grocery stores have boxes that they keep. You can put your groceries in there.”

Long before any of this happened, cities and stores banned plastic bags and encouraged the use of those reusable ones, and that extended to restaurants offering takeout.
Mills says it’s okay to ask about bagging options when you make the next takeout call.

“Companies have already made the switch to compostable paper takeout containers. Sometimes they still come in a bag, but you can ask a restaurant to put (your order) in a paper bag.”

Mills also told NEWS 1130 she’s concerned that this could also lead to another wave of plastic harming the environment, especially with the use of gloves and masks on the rise.