Single-use items are products and packaging that we typically throw away after one use. These items are often only used for minutes, but their impact upon our environment can last thousands of years. Even when these items are recyclable—and many of them are not—energy and resources have been used to produce them in the first place.
With many sustainable options available, using something once and throwing it away is truly a waste. That's why it's so important to think about whether we really need to use these items in the first place. A small shift in our behaviour can have a big impact, and the reusable alternatives are often better than the disposable versions.
Single-use items are convenient, but they have an impact on our environment as they often end up in our landfills or litter our land and water, and they can take thousands of years to break down. Learn more below about the impacts of single-use items, how you can make difference, and what the City is currently doing to encourage waste reduction.
Thinking ahead can make a difference!
The City of Kamloops is committed to helping residents and businesses reduce unnecessary waste and make more sustainable choices. Our Bring Your Own initiative encourages residents to take action and reduce waste by using reusable bottles, containers, straws, and bags. Taking the B.Y.O. pledge can save you money while you make a positive effect on the environment!
On April 2, 2019, Council asked staff to investigate eliminating carry-out plastic bags in an effort to reduce single-use items in our community. The initiative supports Council’s 2019–2022 Strategic Plan and the Sustainable Kamloops Plan, and it includes engagement with businesses and the public.
The City’s initial focus is to determine how to reduce or eliminate carry-out plastic bags from the waste stream. We also hope that this will reduce the contamination of recyclable and compostable materials. The City’s goal is to work with the community to determine our best path forward. The community’s feedback, together with learnings from around the world, will help to shape the City’s approach to reducing single-use item waste.
Learn more about the draft bylaw and current engagement opportunities at LetsTalk.Kamloops.ca/Bags.
Plastic straws and other single-use plastics are generally a non-essential part of life. You can do your part by saying “no” to a straw, or you can purchase a reusable straw to bring with you when you dine out.
Coffee is the most popular hot beverage and the number one food service beverage in Canada. Canadians consume 14 billion cups of coffee every year, and 35% of these are consumed “to go”.
Plastic cutlery has become a staple in both the fast food industry and everyday life due to its ease of use and accessibility; however, these utensils are not recyclable. It’s easy to say “no” these items with a bit of creative planning—just put some reusable utensils into your bag and carry them around with you. Buy a set from your local charity shop. Once you have used them, put them back in your bag and wash when you get home.
Making simple changes to reduce our dependence on single-use items will:
- reduce the amount of material sent to landfills
- reduce contamination of recycled and composted materials
- reduce the amount of these items managed through our waste collection
- support our vision to be a sustainable community
- take the B.Y.O. pledge and commit to using resuable bags, bottles, cups, and straws