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Sault Ste. Marie to move ahead with single-use plastic ban

Sault Ste. Marie -

Sault Ste. Marie is taking a huge step towards banning single-use plastics in the city.

City staff have been directed to draft a bylaw that would see a ban on plastic grocery bags, straws, stir sticks and cutlery.

While council was unanimous in its support, many cautioned that a fair solution needs to be found.

"Not every company in the city is a big box store like Walmart," said councillor Matthew Shoemaker.

"There's independent grocers in town, there's organizations that do takeout, small restaurants that do takeout that need to be able to adjust in a way that doesn't negatively impact their bottom line."

City solicitor Karen Fields told council Monday it expects to hear from many of the 571 businesses in the city that could be affected by the ban when it begins public consultations.

"I think the message was clear from council, we want to strive towards this, but we don't want to impose a burden on our local businesses," Shoemaker said.

"So let's find a way that achieves the goal of reducing or eliminating single-use plastics, but let's do so in a way that's responsible."

Advocacy group Clean North calls the decision to go ahead with a ban a step in the right direction.

Its board chair said implementation will be tricky, but has full confidence in the city.

"We encourage the city to do its due diligence, to look to other communities that have similar bylaws, there are many across Canada," said Bill Cole.

"So we want the city to make sure they're doing this in a fair way, but from a policy perspective, we see lots and lots of potential."

Cole said it's extremely important that businesses who rely on single-use plastics, such as a restaurant who uses takeout containers, is given time to adjust.

"We can't hurt our businesses when enacting this," he said. "The good thing is, this isn't some big pie in the sky idea. The replacement products and replacement business practices, of how to go to a less plastic dependant economy are out there -- they're already reasonably cost-effective."

Once public consultations wrap up, an implementation date is set for July 1, 2022. Top Stories

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