Sault city council to discuss plastics ban

A pair of Sault Ste. Marie city councillors are hoping to get their council colleagues to support a ban on single-use plastics.

A motion to that effect will be debated at the next city council meeting, and if passed, will see a ban on plastic grocery bags, straws, stir sticks, cutlery and food containers used by restaurants.

Councillors Donna Hilsinger and Corey Gardi are behind the motion. Hilsinger said the Sault can show environmental leadership by implementing the ban.

"We know that plastics are hurting our environment, and we feel that it's important for us to do something about that," said Hilsinger. "Do something to take somewhat of an ambitious step in something that can make a big difference."

"I think single-use plastics present a challenge and a problem to marine life," said Gardi. "Us being right on the Great Lakes, the St. Marys River, I think we need to be conscious of that type of pollution that we create and limit it to the greatest degree that we can."

Gardi said he's disappointed in a campaign by the city to encourage individuals and businesses to voluntarily discontinue the use of single-use plastics. He said the initiative was not properly communicated to community partners.

"The school boards, post-secondary institutions, the PUC, some larger employers here in town," said Gardi. "I wasn't really sure as to how much communication there was even within the Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie."

Hilsinger said she is optimistic the motion will pass.

"I do anticipate that most, if not all, members of council will wholeheartedly endorse this and we'll get on to doing our part in the world," she said.

The motion will be debated at the Nov. 15 meeting of Sault Ste. Marie city council. If it passes, a ban on single-use plastics would be put into effect on May 1 of next year.