Esquimalt eyes plastic bag-free zone

Marlene Lagoa

Esquimalt is making history in the Capital Region as the first municipality to spearhead a new plastic-bag-free initiative.

A team of five Royal Roads University environmental science students has been working since January to determine the best way to encourage residents and business owners to stop using plastic bags – an estimated 500 billion to a trillion of these are used globally each year.

“(Reducing plastic bag use) is doable because plastic bags only came into existence in the 1970s,” said Marlene Lagoa, Esquimalt’s sustainability co-ordinator. “People found a way around it before.”

B.C. municipalities are not permitted by the province to levy an outright ban, and plastic bags are not allowed in curbside recycling blue boxes in Greater Victoria.

And instead of following other communities that have voluntary bans, Esquimalt council hopes to have an education campaign in place by Dec. 31. So far, the project has cost the township $500 in administration costs.

“If there’s ever a time for ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality, it’s this,” said student Ryan Murphy. “This is not going to be a costly endeavor to anyone. This is really about changing people’s minds.”

To gauge consumption habits, ideas and concerns of consumers, Murphy’s team recently surveyed 355 shoppers on four different occasions at two busy shopping areas in Esquimalt: Esquimalt Plaza and Place Valentine, at the corner of Esquimalt Road and Head Street.

They learned 25 per cent of people said they never take plastic bags from stores. Of those who do, 29 per cent said they forget their reusable bags at home, 15 per cent forget them in their vehicle and 14 per cent use plastic bags for other reasons.

Still, 75 per cent said they support going plastic bag-free.

“It shows us that people are really receptive to using reusable bags,” said Lagoa, but added it also indicates that education is needed.

“It does take consciousness and awareness to build sustainable practices.”

Students will draft recommendations that will go before Esquimalt’s environmental advisory committee and council this fall.

To complete an online questionnaire, please visit www.esquimalt.ca/plasticbagfree.

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria City Council approves inclusionary housing policy

After years of back and forth, the policy will be ratified in two weeks

Filipino Heritage Month event takes over Centennial Square

Dancing, music and food highlight Mabuhay Day celebration in Victoria

West Shore residents report finding anti-SOGI 123 flyers in mailboxes

SD62 trustee Ravi Parmar says the flyers are ‘garbage’

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read