Nelson Makes the Move Away From Plastic

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Nelson Makes the Move Away From Plastic

“If anyone can do this, Nelson can.”

That is the spirit behind the plastic bag by-law that Claire Hitchman proposes. Karen MacDonald, Public Works supervisor for the city of Nelson emphasized that message of optimism recently during a meeting of by-law supporters.

Joining a Worldwide Movement

Some of the reasons Karen MacDonald supports the ban rise from the amount of money the city spends on cleanup from the bags.

But ultimately, this by-law isn’t just about saving money. Four major Hawaiian islands have a ban in place, over 100 counties and municipalities in California have instituted a ban and the state will vote in November to be the first state to ban bags. From Bangladesh to South Africa, countries are banning plastic bags. China has saved 40 billion dollars a year since 2008, and because of comprehensive bans in much of Australia, their use of plastic bags has effectively halved since instituting bans in 2007.

Claire Hitchman heads a grassroots campaign that wants to encourage Nelson to join the ranks.  And, with  30 small business letters signed and over 1000 signatures on her petition, her proposal for a plastic bag free Nelson is coming closer to reality.

Show Your Love for Nelson

At a recent conversation with supporters, one refrain I heard over and over was that we all love Nelson, and this ban is just one more way we can show that love. Encouraging renewable options such as wicker baskets, canvas bags, or similar is a way to demonstrate that Nelson is a place to cherish and celebrate.

It’s a small step, but an important one. Again, listening to Karen MacDonald, the sheer number of bags that clog our sewage system each year is a hindrance to a well-run municipality.

It’s true that they make up around 1% of landfill, but because of their weight and shape, they’re easily carried by wind and water. We see them caught in trees, along gutters, in river eddies and along the roadside. By taking care to eliminate this one problem we’re creating a message around how we feel about where we live.

Beautify Nelson — Plastic Bags are Just the Start

Joining the growing worldwide movement to bring reusable bags and baskets to our grocery shops is a first and very public step toward beautifying Nelson and the entire region. Nelson is beautiful, true. But perhaps because of our stunning natural surroundings, we can sometimes get complacent about things like trash on the side of the road or even the impact one more plastic bag will have on our local environment.

Thanks to the hard work of residents like Claire Hitchman, though, Nelson looks just a little more beautiful, a bit more well loved. Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism supports the idea of a plastic bag ban and we hope you’ll join us.

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