MONTREAL, Jan. 25, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The plastic bag industry in Quebec is calling on the City of Brossard to reconsider its ban on plastic shopping bags because the municipality's decision to ban the bags as of Fall 2016 is based on out-of-date data that is nearly 10-years old and is not relevant to today.
93% of all plastic bags are reused and recycled
Indeed, the recycling rate of 14% that is being used by the city to justify its decision to ban is a 2007 recycling rate and is completely outdated. Unfortunately this 14% recycling rate seems to be guiding other area municipalities in the direction of bans.
According to the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), Quebecers habits have changed so much since 2007, that, today, 93% of all bags are reused (60%) or recycled (33%). A Technical Report tabled with Recyc Quebec in 2015 outlines in detail the most up-to-date bag reduction, reuse, and recycling data in Quebec. (See below)
"In fact, plastic bags are not single-use bags, but multi-purpose and multi-use. As a result of awareness campaigns conducted since 2007, Quebecers have embraced the 3R's and the responsible use of bags making the province's bag management system an environmental model for the world", explained Marc Robitaille, CEO of Saint-Hubert-based Omniplast and industry member of CPIA.
Thanks to the performance of Quebecers, the majority of bags used in Quebec represent only 0.27% of all waste that ends up in landfills, according to the CPIA.
A measure that will not be without a cost to residents
According to a survey conducted by CROP in May 2015 in Montreal, 87% of people reuse their plastic bags; 78% reuse them to manage household waste; 15% reuse them for pet waste; and 29% of people recycle their bags. Only 5% of Montrealers discard them.
"If plastic bags are banned, residents will be forced to buy heavier plastic kitchen catchers to manage their household waste. These bags contain 74% more plastic and are two to three times more expensive than a plastic shopping bag," said Robitaille. "The ban will have a double negative effect on the environment and people's household budget. Everyone loses. "
A measure that will impact the industry in Quebec
Economically, Brossard's decision to ban plastic bags could put in jeopardy thousands of jobs in Quebec in an industry that generates 9500 direct and indirect jobs, including on the South Shore of Montreal. Indeed, plastic bags are produced in Quebec using a derivative of natural gas, clean energy, while most reusable bags are manufactured in Asia and cannot be recycled.
"In fact, when it is reused or recycled, the plastic bag is a sustainable solution. That is why we invite Brossard elected officials to delay their decision until they carry out an impact study," added Robitaille whose company, Omniplast, located in Saint-Hubert employs some 100 workers at his Saint-Hubert manufacturing facility; many of which live in Brossard.
Over the past 10 years, more than 100 governments and associations in Canada, including Quebec in 2008, studied the effectiveness of measures to ban or tax plastic bags and discarded them because other solutions based the 3Rs (reuse, reduce, recycle) proved more effective.
The Canadian Plastics Industry Association is the national voice of Canada's plastics industry, and has represented the interests of processors, material suppliers, equipment manufacturers and brand owners across the country since 1943.
A copy of the CPIA Technical Report is available on request (in French only).
SOURCE Canadian Plastics Industry Association
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