Council To Reduce Single Use Plastics

As part of its ongoing commitment to Climate Change, Richmond Hill is working to reduce reliance on single-use plastic items across the community.
 
Single-use plastics refer to plastic products and packaging designed to be used only once before they are discarded. Examples include disposable cutlery, straws, stir sticks, shopping bags, single-serve condiment packets and take-out containers. Most of these items are not recyclable and too often end up as litter in the community or contamination in the City’s blue box program. This litter has consequences in our natural environment, harming wildlife through entanglement, direct consumption or by entering the food web in the form of micro plastics upon breaking down.
 
At the November 25 meeting, Council endorsed the City’s three-point plan to encourage the reduction of single-use plastics within the community. The following initiatives will be implemented starting in 2021:
 
1) Corporate Waste Reduction and Diversion Policy. Leading by example, the City will develop a corporate policy to reduce or eliminate the use of single-use plastic items at all City facilities, including the main Municipal Offices, as well as at City-run events. Reusable alternatives would be substituted wherever possible.
 
2) Public education campaign for residents and businesses. The City will work to increase the community’s general awareness and understanding of the environmental impacts of single-use plastic items and encourage the use of more sustainable options such as reusable shopping bags and masks.
 
3) Business recognition program. Many businesses in the community are already making positive, voluntarily changes. The City, in collaboration with York Region, will create a program to identify and recognize businesses who have made proactive commitments to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic items and have other waste reduction and diversion initiatives in place.
 
This plan will work in concert and support broader direction from the Federal and Provincial governments, both of which have committed to introducing bans on certain single-use plastics in the near future.