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HomeNewsSmithers Secondary Youth Action Group tackling use of plastic bags.

Smithers Secondary Youth Action Group tackling use of plastic bags.

Photo Courtesy: Taylor Chartrand

Hannah Pow and Jessica Walton from the Smithers Secondary Youth Action Group pitched their case to Smithers Town Council on the reduction of plastic bags in our community, and that is as far as it’s going, for now.

The youth-led group has one initiative, to make positive local and global impacts for the community.

The group’s current goal is to become similar to that in Fort McMurray, Montreal, and Victoria where plastic shopping bags have been banned.

Pow and Walton say the group’s intention is not to implement a ban but to educate the public on how we can reduce plastic bag use in our community.

Councillor Gladys Atrill, Councillor Phil Brienesse.
Photo Courtesy: Taylor Chartrand

While the initiative is a good one, it’s something Smithers Councillor Phil Brienesse says Council should stay out of.

“Hannah and Jessica presented a great case to Council. If Council were to step in and put a local fee or by-law in place regarding plastic bags, it would probably be poorly received. The Smithers Action Group should approach local businesses and see if they’d be willing to be on board. By doing this, you basically partner with local shops rather than forcing their hand with a ban or fee.”

Smithers Secondary Action Group surveyed nearly 430 residents and found these results.

  •  61% of residents say they already use reusable bags
  • 84% say if a bag fee was implemented from $0.25-$0.55 per bag, they would use reusable bags
  • 94% say they are concerned about the environmental impact plastic bags have

Mayor Taylor Bachrach says they will send a letter to Pow and Walton thanking them for their research and presentation.

Background information: The first plastic bag was introduced 53 years ago and takes nearly 1000 years to decompose.


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