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Calgary shops preparing to do business without single-use plastics – Calgary

Local shops in Calgary are preparing to do business without single-use plastics.

However, if customers were to shop at Canary Refillery and Zero Waste Market in the city’s northwest, they would notice there are no single-use plastics to be found anywhere.

Owner Lisa Whitford said that was the plan when the market opened four years ago.

“When we started this, that was part of the goal… to do something that would not have a huge impact on the environment,” she said.

The waste-free refillery on Kensington Road allows customers to bring in their own containers and refill them with good like shampoo, soap, household cleaners as well as laundry and dishwashing soaps and powders.

Whitford said since the market opened its doors, it has worked with suppliers to limit the amount of packaging brought into the store.

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Whitford said she believes Canary is showing that life without plastics can be done as the country inches closer to a complete ban on single-use plastics.

“It was weird for me at first to not use Ziploc bags, but now that I have stasher bags or silicone bags, I don’t even think about it anymore,” she said.

As of Dec. 20, the federal government’s next phases of the process of banning single-use plastics will come into effect.

READ MORE: Canada’s single-use plastics ban a ‘first step’ in waste reduction. What’s next?

At that time, the importation and manufacturing of single-use plastics such as shopping bags, carry-out food containers and cutlery will no longer be permitted in Canada.

A year later, a complete ban on these items will come into effect.

“It’s a benefit for the environment” said Mañana Imports owner Stephen Burger. “It’s a benefit for everyone.

“It’s something I think had to be moved towards at some point.”

While Burger knows there are still 12 months until his store and others will no longer be permitted to bag customer purchases with single-use plastic bags, he is already in the process of switching to biodegradable bags rather than the traditional ones.

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“The last while, I’ve been getting more reuseable bags that people can use again and again that are coming from Thailand and other places — canvas, heavier weight ones,” he said.

A 2019 study done by the City of Calgary showed about 3.5 million plastic shopping bags found their way to the city’s landfill along with millions of take-out containers and disposable cups.

Ward 2 councillor Jennifer Wyness said the city is currently in the feedback stage of a new bylaw that will be aimed at further reducing single-use plastic consumption with a focus on compostable brown bags and wood.

“It’s not just one order of government gets to fix this,” Wyness said. “This is a global issue… (with) global ramifications and I think sometimes we put the box too narrow when it comes to addressing the climate.”


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