Group localizes single-use plastics conversation
A grassroots movement is focussing a conversation about single-use plastics, looking at the global problem through a local lens.
“Our main goal is for people to use less plastic, especially single-use plastic,” said Cecily Ross.
Ross first put the call out to the community via a letter-to-the-editor and started a Facebook group and organized two meetings to get the conversation going. In just a few weeks more than 100 people have joined.
“It’s all happening really fast,” said Ross. “A lot faster than I thought it was going to.”
The Facebook group is called Creemore Plastics Ban, in order to be super clear about the goal, but Ross said she prefers to frame it as a challenge for every business and individual.
Ross, with the help of Councillor Thom Paterson, is taking a motion to council in August to see if they will support a voluntary ban of single use plastics, as has been approved in Blue Mountains and is being considered in Collingwood.
It is all part of the effort to raise awareness, share information and educate people about their habits as consumers.
“A lot of people don’t realize that when it comes to plastics, recycling is not the answer,” said Ross, adding that only a small percentage of plastics actually gets recycled. “I think the confusion around recycling doesn’t help. We just don’t know what we can put in our blue boxes.”
The federal government has announced an intention to implement a countrywide ban but with an election on the horizon, there is no certainty it will become reality.
“The reason I like this issue is because it touches all our lives. We can understand it. We all have plastics in our lives. We all know what the problem is and we feel we can do something about it. We can as individuals and we can as a community,” said Ross.
She sees Creemore as an ideal community for what she considers a pilot project for all of Clearview and beyond.
“It’s not realistic to think that we are going to get rid of all plastic. Plastic is part of our lives and it has many beneficial uses,” said Ross. “Everyone is going to forget their reusable bag when they go to the grocery store… but we want to get people thinking about how using these things is a habit and we all have fallen into it. The more we are aware of what we are doing, and what the issues are, the more likely we are to change our behaviour.”
Those involved will be staffing the Creemore Farmers’ Market coffee booth on July 20 and 27, putting a twist on it with a Bring-Your-Own-Mug policy. (They will also have reusable mugs to borrow and compostables available.)
Ross has been talking to the proponents of the TD lands development about including a waterbottle filling station and composting facilities at the new village green and has been talking to businesses about their solutions and concerns. She said a lot of people in town are already doing a lot to reduce plastic waste, such as using recycled paper bags instead of plastic.
To get updates and learn about specific events and workshops, join the Creemore Plastics Ban group on Facebook.