At the November 19 meeting, Council passed a motion to proceed with a voluntary ban on single use plastics throughout the municipality. The report was originally brought forward at the November 5 Committee of the Whole, where staff discussed the possibility of implementing the ban and presented both the environmental and economic impacts surrounding the municipality.
To lead by example, Council approved that the voluntary ban will be implemented at all administrative facilities as soon as possible. Kawartha Lakes will also work on an education campaign to assist residents and stakeholders, such as local businesses, to start thinking of new ways to address single-use plastics. For example, Councillor Seymour-Fagan brought a show-and-tell to the Council meeting, bringing forward ideas such as using avocado based cutlery instead of plastic and switching from Styrofoam take out containers to paper boxes.
As part of the approved motion, Styrofoam has also been removed from our recycling stream and will now be discarded through the waste stream.
“We hope the voluntary ban will act as an initiative for the municipality to prepare for potential provincial and/or federal legislation that may come,” stated Mayor Andy Letham. “It acts as a good middle ground, bringing further awareness to the environmental impact these materials are causing while also giving stakeholders enough time to prepare for the enforced changes.”
Staff have also been instructed to develop a green procurement policy as part of a Council led initiative of a 2020 Green City Charter.
In addition, the updated Waste Management Strategy was also brought forward at the Committee of the Whole meeting, outlining an updated strategic plan for Waste and Recycling within the municipality beginning in 2020. The report was received on November 5, with a request from Mayor Letham to explore initiatives that the team can implement now in addition to the goals outlined in the updated document.
David Kerr, Manager of Environmental Services for Kawartha Lakes spoke out, outlining the current steps the team has already implemented to help address environmental needs for the municipality. This included an emphasis on public education through using media tools such as the 2020 Municipal Calendar, the municipal website and increased advertising plans for upcoming diversion programs. Kerr also proposed Council look at a few action items to approve, such as increasing tipping fees to help offset recycling costs for 2020 and reducing the allowable amount of recycling in clear garbage bags from the current 20 percent down to 10.
“It’s crucial that we look at all opportunities available to amplify both education and action towards waste and recycling throughout the municipality,” stated Kerr. “I appreciate all of the support we receive from Council in moving forward with the accelerated initiatives and updated strategic plan. We will continue to work closely with our advisory committees to ensure we are always exploring new possibilities and keeping up to date with best practices for the municipality.”
Anticipated changes to waste and recycling are expected to occur throughout the course of the next few years. With the implementation of goals included in the updated Waste Strategy, the municipality will be constantly reviewing current practices in place to ensure we’re on track to help keep costs down while managing the size of our environmental footprint.
To watch the full Council meeting from November 19, visit the City’s YouTube channel.