Vancouver cool to idea of plastic bag charge
For months, politicians in Metro Vancouver have been going back and forth on what to do about plastic bags. Should they be banned? Should they be restricted? Or should they just be left alone?
In April, CTV news conducted an informal poll of Metro board members to see who supports a ban. The result was a resounding 'maybe' with 18 saying yes, but another 14 non-committal.
While our politicians talk, people and businesses are taking action. Pharmasave has switched to 100-per cent biodegradable bags, while other stores have given plastic the boot.
In Seattle, city councillors have taken another approach. Instead of a ban, they've voted to charge shoppers 20-cents per bag. It's hoped this hit to the wallet will make people think twice about plastic.
So if it works for Seattle - could it work here (in Metro Vancouver)?
Metro Vancouver Chair Lois Jackson thinks it might. "I think we should have a look at this," she said.
"It's always difficult for the public to accept additional legislation, heaven knows we've got a lot of it, but hopefully people will understand what we're trying to do here and will have a buy in," Jackson said.
Jackson says she's going to put the pay-per bag idea on the Metro board's agenda in the fall. She's hoping at least one Lower Mainland municipality will take the concept on as a pilot project.
But the plan is getting mixed reaction from the public.
One person who was interviewed by CTV said he wouldn't' be happy if he walked into Safeway and found that they were charging 20 cents for every bag.
"Groceries are dear enough anyways," he said.
Another person thinks plastic bags should be banned, outright.
However, Seattle's move to put a 20 cent charge on plastic bags is also getting a chilly reception from those pushing for a full plastic bag ban.
"I think it is a safer approach politically, but I don't think it's the best aproach as far as the environment's concerned so I'd rather go with the best approach," said Vancouver City Councillor Tim Stevenson.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart.