Northern Rockies mulls plastic shopping bag ban

Councillors in the Northern Rockies have voted to study whether to ban plastic shopping bags in the municipality.

It's an attempt to address ongoing concerns at the regional landfill and fall in line with communities around the world doing the same, Mayor Bill Streeper says. Plastic is one of the most dangerous things for the environment because it doesn't disintegrate and can be a mess to clean up, he says.

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"When we go to our dump and you go to south of it, the birds are poking holes in the bags and then they take the garbage out of it, and then the wind comes up and blows them all down into the bush and it's terrible," Streeper said.

"Every time you turn on the TV you see piles of plastic somewhere, and I think it's about time that politicians and citizens and everybody just steps back and says look, we got to start doing something about this stuff."

The municipality is only studying its options at this point, and a ban hasn't been put in place. Streeper hopes residents and businesses will voluntarily ditch the plastic bags and trade them in for eco-friendlier alternatives before a ban is fully considered.

But, the municipality has control of what can and can't be dumped in its landfill, he said. If approved, there would be a 90-day transition period, and Streeper said it could be in place by the end of the year.

"It's something that in my mind is very easy to cure," Streeper said.

"Why are we using plastic bags, why aren't we taking cloth bags to the grocery store? It's so simple, it doesn't cost no money, it doesn't cost time, and we can start making an effect on this plastic stuff in our environment."

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at


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