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Clean North and the city want to help you give up plastic

COVID-19 has forced us to use more plastics. Sault Ste. Marie is determined to change that
Plastic bag
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The City of Sault Ste. Marie and Clean North struck a deal Monday night to develop, educate and promote a community pledge to break your single-use plastic habit.

"Clean North and the City of Sault Ste. Marie would like to show leadership and do our part to protect our community and make this plastic-free lifestyle a reality," says Susan Hamilton-Beach, the city's director of public works.

Attempts by municipalities to ban things like checkout bags, drinking straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings and plastic cutlery have so far had only limited success.

Instead, Sault Ste. Marie is going to try a plastic-free community pledge.

"Households, businesses, schools, community organizations and workplaces will be challenged to Choose to Refuse: Take the Plastic-Free Sault Pledge," Hamilton-Beach said in a report to Monday's City Council meeting.

"By taking part in this initiative, participants will make a pledge to audit their use of single-use plastics and set attainable goals to reduce and eliminate this waste by moving towards the use of eco-friendly alternatives."

"With the development of a plastic-free pledge, we can surpass these goals and strive to eliminate more of these harmful, single-use plastics from our community."

"This will be an excellent educational tool for use in all the sectors (ie. residential, commercial) and as people buy in, it will be a valuable bridge to a legislative approach."

Attempts to cut back on single-use plastics have been significantly blunted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with restaurants forced to offer only takeout and retailers discouraging use of reusable grocery bags.

But the federal government is expected to introduce a ban on many plastic products by the end of 2021.

"Once the federal government regulation is introduced, people and business will have an enhanced level of understanding and anticipated compliance," Hamilton-Beach said.

David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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