A small town in Alberta plans to be the first municipality in Canada to ban expanded polystyrene foam packaging.
Turner Valley's council has voted unanimously to ban the use of disposable EPS cups and plates and to prevent local shippers from using EPS ``peanuts'' to protect shipped goods.
``It uses up valuable space in landfill and takes a long time to break down,'' said Garry Pollock, the councilman promoting the ban, in a telephone interview ``There is no [recycling] market for it available in our region.''
Pollock said council voted on the issue April 21, and by the May 13 meeting expects to come up with a plan to implement the ban. The plan is to include communication and education components to make sure citizens are in tune with it. The initial focus will be on the food-service industry, according to Pollock.
Switching from EPS to paper cups entails higher costs, said Cathy Cirko, vice president of environment and health for the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.
Paper cups can cost two to three times more than EPS cups - costs a retailer is likely to pass on to consumers, Cirko said in a telephone interview. She also claimed that an EPS cup uses 50 percent less energy to make and has a smaller greenhouse gas footprint.
``We will talk to council and explain the implications [of a ban] to them,'' Cirko said. ``We will offer to work with them on solutions good for the environment.''
Turner Valley, about 40 miles south of Calgary, has a population of about 2,000. Although it plans to ban EPS packaging, the town has a recycling depot that collects a variety of plastics. The town is one of 18 local municipalities devising a use plan for a future collective landfill.