No more plastic straws

The Penticton Lakeside Resort is all for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to ban all single-use plastics. The resort switched to paper straws from plastic ones last year and is in the midst of a ban on plastic water bottles as well. Above, Barking Parrot Pub manager Chris Thibodeau, left, and server Liane Abbey hold drinks topped with paper straws.

It’s as if David Prystay was waiting for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce a ban on single-use plastics.

“Kudos to Trudeau for standing up for the environment,” said Prystay of RPB Hotels, which owns the Penticton Lakeside Resort and the Ramada in Kelowna.

“At the Lakeside, we’ve already banned plastic straws, plastic water bottles, plastic cutlery and plastic bags for to-go food.”

On Monday, during a stop at a nature reserve in Mont St-Hilaire, Que., Trudeau said the federal government is moving ahead with a ban of harmful single-use plastics starting as early as 2021.

Specifics of the ban remain to be finalized.

“A real solution needs to be nationwide . . . and that’s why the federal government is moving forward on a science-based approach to establish which harmful single-use plastics we will be eliminating as of 2021,” said Trudeau.

“Whether we’re talking about plastic bottles or cellphones, it will be up to businesses to take responsibility for the plastics they’re manufacturing and putting out into the world.”

Effectively, that means companies that produce plastics or use them in packaging will be responsible for the collection and recycling of the waste.

That’s already happening to a certain extent.

For instance, London Drugs takes back packaging and batteries for recycling.

Most grocery stores also take back single-use plastic shopping bags for recycling.

And many plastic and glass bottles can returned to recycling facilities for a refund on the bottle deposit.

Be that as it may, Trudeau wants to see a strict, nationwide ban to reduce the amount of plastic overflowing dumps and polluting land and waterways.

Key to the Lakeside’s ban of plastic bottles is a move to refillable glass water bottles.

The hotel has purchased a Vivreau system to filter tap water to put in one-litre bottles for distribution to hotel rooms, the convention centre, banquet facilities, restaurants and bars.

Last year, it stopped using plastic straws and now has paper ones that are biodegradable. And people who order drinks only get a paper straw if they ask for one.

Kelowna-based juice and snack maker SunRype put many of its products in Tetra Pak, a container that contains paperboard, polyethylene (a type of plastic) and aluminum.

“Certainly, all SunRype beverage packaging is recyclable, where facilities exist, including the straws which are attached to our 200-millilitre juice boxes,” said SunRype consumer communications manager Barb Broder.

“We are launching an education initiative to help consumers understand that they can simply ‘push the straw back in the pack’ and then recycle the whole package.”

The information will be included right on the packaging, on SunRype’s website, and on the company’s social and digital communication channels.

SunRype is also developing and testing alternatives to single-use plastic straws.

It’s also working with government, suppliers and industry partners to develop more sustainable and earth-friendly packaging.

Century Plastics in West Kelowna manufactures plastic bottles, jars and containers for food, beverage, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, petroleum, cleaning and personal care companies across North America.

“All our containers are made of HDPE and PET plastics, which are the most recyclable plastics and ones that are made of 50% post-consumer recyclables,” said Century production manager Rob Wilson.

“That means all the plastics we make can be recycled and turned into new products. It also means the ban won’t affect us. I agree entirely with a ban on single-use plastic.”