Canadian Plastics

Small Alberta town votes to ban polystyrene

Last year, the small town of Leaf Rapids, Man. made history when it became the first North American municipality to...

May 5, 2008   Canadian Plastics

Last year, the small town of Leaf Rapids, Man. made history when it became the first North American municipality to ban single-use plastic bags. Now, the town council in Turner Valley, Alta. has voted unanimously to ban the sale and disposal of polystyrene products.

The move makes Turner Valley the first Canadian municipality to introduce a ban on polystyrene. According to media reports, staff will introduce a draft bylaw by May 13.

“Our concern with Styrofoam is that it’s a petroleum-based product,” said Councillor Garry Pollock in an interview with the Calgary Herald. “It depends on the thickness of the product, but it can take up to 500 years to break down.”

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association’s vice president of environment and health Cathy Cirko noted that the association is working with councillors and retailers in Turner Valley to discuss the implications of such a ban.

Cirko said the discussions might help dispel some of the myths about polystyrene.

“One of the retailers [in Turner Valley] said they will substitute polystyrene with paper products,” she explained in an interview with Canadian Plastics. “I don’t know whether the retailer would have suggested that if they had known that paper has a greater environmental footprint. It uses more energy in manufacturing and produces more greenhouse gases.”

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