The federal government’s proposed ban on single use plastic is putting the City of Ottawa in a difficult spot.
Starting this summer, the city is expected to allow plastic bags in green bins to encourage residents to compost more often.
But environmental groups such as Waste Watch Ottawa say you can’t allow plastic bags and be environmentally friendly at the same time.
Environment expert Duncan Bury says, “The disconnect is huge. Environmental groups- such as Waste Watch Ottawa have always argued that allowed plastic bags in the compost are a problem.”
Bury says the city needs to change its policy. He says, “The federal government is saying we are going to ban these bags ... so I think the city needs go 'let’s rethink our decision and not allow plastic bags and hold off that decision.”
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says, “The ban as I understand it won’t come into effect for a couple of years....and there are compostable bags that are available.”
The city is counting on people’s habits changing as well as people embracing the green bin by the time the ban is in effect.
Watson says, “My hope is that over the next couple of years as we implement the plastic bags allowed in the green bins, people will start to get used to the fact that using the green bin is a good thing. It saves landfill. We only have 20-30 years left in our landfill and I haven’t met anyone in Ottawa that wants a dump in their backyard.”