In society’s zeal to phase-out single-use plastic products from the marketplace, sometimes people forget about those who earn their living in this industry.
The Surrey Board of Trade is therefore calling on the federal and provincial governments to help companies that make these items rise to the challenge of manufacturing new, more environmentally friendly products.
“There is an opportunity for industry innovation so no jobs are lost,” Anita Huberman, CEO of the board, told the Now-Leader. “We want people to stay in business and increase employment. We’re taking a look at this from an environmental lens and also from an industry innovation opportunity to create new jobs.”
The board is calling on the provincial government, through the BC Environment Management Act, to phase-out single-use plastics. This includes trash bags, Ziplock bags, cereal bags, bubble wrap, clear plastic wrap, some plastic store bags, single cheese wrappers, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles, most food packaging, toys, potato chip bags, candy wrappers, and plastic rings that hold six-packs of beer or other beverages.
The board is also calling on the government to commission a one-year study top research alternatives “so that employment isn’t lost, that there’s new jobs that are created in this ongoing economic cycle that we live in, and also work with our different industries such as our food and beverage industry. They are members of the Surrey Board of Trade, and they are in Surrey.”
Huberman said the board of trade is also asking the province to “commit to a time frame for complete removal” of single-use plastics “from the waste stream” and eliminate the production of “dirty Styrofoam.”
What’s dirty Styrofoam? Huberman said that’s stuff like polystyrene plates at food fairs, that are stained with leftovers and then thrown in the garbage “because you can’t recycle it.”
She says it could be used for other things, such as in road construction. “There’s so many other uses for dirty styrofoam, instead of just throwing it in the landfill.”
Huberman said the Surrey Board of Trade also wants the government to implement an “awareness campaign” so consumers know they can take plastic over-wrap and “other flexible plastics” to recycling depots.