Will that be paper or plastic? Taber town council passed a motion at a regular meeting held March 9 to ban plastic, compostable, or biodegradable bags from compost bins within the Town of Taber beginning Nov. 1, 2020.
According to a recent media release posted on the town's website, since the implementation of the community's three-cart system in April 2016, the Town has allowed residents to use BPI-certified compostable bags in their kitchen catchers and compost carts.
“Due to challenges this is presenting at the compost facility, the use of plastic compostable bags is being phased out. As such, please note as of Nov. 1, compost will have to be put out for collection BPI compostable bag free,” it was stated. The Town of Taber noted this is not a town-wide plastic bag ban.
“This ban is for BPI-certified compostable bags sold specifically for compost carts only. Residents can still use paper bags or line the bottoms of their carts with pizza boxes, newspaper, or paper towel if they so desire,” it was also stated in the media release.
BPI compostable bags are not breaking down as quickly as the town and its compost contractor GFL would like, it was noted in the media release. “Because the bags do not break down quickly, they end up being picked up by high winds and littering neighbouring properties including farmland. If the bags are untouched by the wind, they break down so slowly compared to other compostable materials that debris remains within the finished compost.”
Council has chosen to ban all plastic BPI-certified compostable bags from kitchen catchers and compost carts within the town in the interest of protecting the surrounding area from litter and to promote best composting practices within the community, according to the media release.
“Our citizens have been extremely supportive of our composting system since it was implemented, affording our waste management system financial savings and multiple awards,” stated Mayor Andrew Prokop.
“Given how well our citizens initially adjusted to our three-cart system and how invested they have been since, council has no doubt our citizens will support us in this next phase of environmental stewardship. This will continue to allow us to have a beneficial waste collection partnership for area residents and businesses.”
GFL Environmental is proud of the partnership with the town's environmental protection and sustainability achievements, which are world-class – stated Don Francis, director of organic solutions for GFL Environmental Inc. “We are privileged to provide the recycling of community organics into reusable nutrients, and as such, support the decision to remove all bags from the green cart program. This adjustment will eliminate any potential for litter escaping into the Town and M.D., as well as accelerating our composting process.”
More information and tips for the public will be available in the coming months, as the Nov. 1 ban approaches, but the public is encouraged to stop using the BPI-certified bags as of now, “if they wish.”