Rethinking Single Use Plastics: Community Consultation

Participants were asked: Would you support a mandatory ban on single use plastics? If so, which products? By when?

“Rethinking Single Use Plastics,” was a community consultation organized by PFL in early 2019 in Lunenburg. The purpose was to engage and measure public support for reducing single-use plastics in Lunenburg. The consultation provided information on risks associated with single use plastic pollution and how Lunenburg can reduce the risks. Participants were invited to set goals toward SUP bans, identify questions, and identify challenges/opportunities.

Over 300 people attended our public sessions and 1,425 “votes” (registered support) were recorded across 7 plastic categories.

Participants expressed overwhelming support to introduce a mandatory ban on sale and distribution of seven categories of single-use plastics to the Town of Lunenburg. Over 96% of respondents support a ban of ALL 7 categories by January 1, 2020 or sooner (see chart below).

The proposed categories of plastic to be included in the ban are: Any straw, check-out bag, cutlery, single serving beverage bottle/container, single serving condiment pack, disposable cup, disposable container, disposable lid, or produce or bulk bag that is, in part or whole, made out of plastic.

 There were also a number of themes that emerged from the community consultation. These were mainly about how the ban would be implemented:

  • Support the transition

    • People are looking for access and information on consumer product & habit alternatives

    • People want businesses and organizations to be given reasonable time to make the transition

    • People are seeing need for more water refilling access around town

    • People want to be inclusive and leave no one behind – eg. Sponsor “starter kits” for those who can’t afford re-usable items

  • Opportunities for local economic development / business – let’s use this opportunity to produce items locally

  • Other concerns

    • People want mandatory shared responsibility: Producers, business, governments, community groups, consumer/citizens

    • Waste management barriers: concerns about waste collection systems and cost to taxpayers

    • Other plastics/waste risks people want to address right away: Food packaging, pet waste, etc.