Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

How to make progress

I missed the Metro Board meeting yesterday, but the coverage this morning in the Vancouver Sun suggests it was a real prattfall by the Directors.

The Sun reports that the Metro Board voted to "work with local business associations, retailers and consumers to discourage the use of plastic shopping bags" but then in the same breath disparaged that industry's offer to take responsibility for the problem.

Some working relationship!

I am no Pollyanna when it comes to voluntary industry promises, but I see in this proposal something that we can work with. A broad group of retail associations have made a commitment to cut plastic bag use in half in five years. Measurable goal, clear timeline.

Meanwhile, Councillor Hunt is counting his chickens of 60% and 70% and 75% reduction before he has hatched any program at all.

The fact is that the only people who can fix the plastic bag problem is the folks who hand out plastic bags. With proper oversight by government and the public.
Zero Waste Vancouver has sent a letter to the ministry of environment asking:

  • has the retail industry has reported a baseline (the number of bags used now) for us to measure their progress against?

  • will the industry be reporting to the ministry on their progress?

When industry comes to the table, play -- but make sure there is a referee. I just hope that the grocers won't take their marbles and go home, leaving their bags to "clog up our landfills" (though I'd rather have them stored safely underground than vaporized into the atmosphere in one of Marvin Hunt's planned incinerators).

Zero Waste Vancouver will watchdog this program and hold the industry's feet to the fire if they fall short, just as our friends in Australia are doing. pic: Zero Waste South Australia

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