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Region considering plastic ban – again

Town of Ajax resolution reignites discussion in Durham

Durham Region’s works committee has once again asked staff to look into a possible single-use plastic ban. The discussion was reignited by a recent resolution by the Town of Ajax.

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa ExpressA single-use plastic ban is once again on the minds of some regional councillors.

The Town of Ajax is currently looking to its staff for recommendations on how a single-use plastic ban would apply to and impact the town’s facilities, meetings, and events.

This has prompted the region’s works committee to ask staff to once again look at the logistics of a regional ban.

Oshawa Ward 1 city and regional councillor John Neal was on board.

“I understand it’s good… we’d like to be there ourselves,” he said.

Ajax Mayor Shaun Collier jumped at the idea of the region looking into its own ban.

“We want [Ajax] to lead by example,” he told the works committee.

He noted the Town of Markham has a single-use plastic ban at its facilities, and he believes they do it well.

Collier adds all items used at Markham’s meetings are either organic or refillable.

The resolution endorsed by Ajax city council notes the federal government intends to have all single-use plastics banned by 2021, and the province is looking into how to reduce or totally eliminate single-use plastics as well.

According to Collier, the motion will “move us much further forward in getting rid of single-use plastics.”

Ajax’s mayor does acknowledge it may be impossible to completely get rid of single-use plastics, but he hopes the motion will make things better.

Addressing works staff, Collier expressed his desire for the region to develop its own policy.

“Having a broad policy will… help us move forward,” said Collier.

Commissioner of works Susan Siopis noted she has seen several similar resolutions come across her desk over the years.

She added the region doesn’t have its own formal policy, but has begun initiatives to lessen dependence on single-use plastics.

“One of the things that we would like to do is host a meeting of all of the waste [management staff] so they can sit down together and implement a similar policy region-wide,” said Siopis.

The committee then passed a motion to ask staff to report back on a policy to eliminate single-use plastics. Staff are also to consult with the lower-tier municipalities in the process.