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Town of Erin launches program to reduce single-use plastics

Town of Erin facilities will no longer sell single-use plastic and a public education campaign is forthcoming
Town of Erin Mayor Allan Alls holds a refillable water bottle with the town's logo. Supplied photo

The Town of Erin will try to make an environmental impact by introducing measures to reduce single-use plastic.

A report accepted by council laid out a plan for Erin staff to stop buying and selling single-use plastic as well as an education campaign to the public and local businesses. 

Communications officer Jessica Spina said this is not an outright ban on single-use plastic but the town is working on implementing alternatives.

“We will stop purchasing it but we will also be working with our service providers and our vendors,” she said. “We’ve already had preliminary conversations with service providers and vendors on ways to make the switch to environmentally friendly alternatives.”

Spina’s example of this in action is removing plastic water bottles and sports drinks from vending machines in public spaces. These will be replaced with cans which Spina said is not a perfect solution either but a good starting point for the program.

Two-thousand dollars had been set aside for an education campaign in collaboration with the environment and sustainability advisory committee. It is aimed towards residents and local businesses to help them consider how to cutback on single-use plastic.

“What’s going to come from the education campaign will be signs that either storefronts or residents can purchase to have either on their front lawn or in their store,” Spina said. 

These signs will have helpful tips such as reminding you to bring in reusable bags before you're in the store.  

“One example is, ‘Did you remember to bring in your bag?’ I know a lot of people have the reusable bag in the car and then they get into the store and they’ve forgotten it,” she said. 

Spina said she thinks this will make people return to their car rather than realizing too late at checkout. This concept can be used the same way with reusable water bottles at local community centres.

“Through the education program we’ll re-emphasize that we have those refillable bottle stations and to remind residents to bring their water bottles into the facilities to fill-up.”

The environment and sustainability advisory committee has had preliminary conversations with local businesses to see if they’d be open to displaying these signs. Spina said there has been positive feedback so far. Brady Shaddock, co-owner of Tin Roof Cafe on Main Street in Erin, said he likes the town's efforts. 

"I think it's a good initiative to take forward, even if we can find little changes to do everything adds up," said Shaddock. "If they had any ideas or if they wanted to find ways to work together, obviously we'd love to work with them."

The program will be monitored by waste audits in public facilities and from conversations with local businesses who purchased the signs to see if they’ve noticed a difference. 

Keegan Kozolanka

About the Author: Keegan Kozolanka

Keegan Kozolanka covers civic matters under the Local Journalism initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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