The struggle to stay green in Saskatchewan during COVID-19
SASKATOON -- Local environmentalist Naomi Hunter says while workplace waste has gone down, at home waste has gone up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s very discouraging because we were just seeing a case where so many cities across the country and in Saskatchewan particular were just enacting plastic bag bans.”
She says it’s important for residents to make every effort to use less.
“This is a key point in time where what we do in our own homes and reducing the amount of waste that we have can make a really big impact. Do we really need to be ordering out as much as we are and use more take-out containers? We should make conscious decisions and find things that don’t need to be held into a container,” she said.
“We’re very much in favour of everything being reusable, if not reusable, compostable so that it’s not just ending up in a landfill that’s going to sit there for thousands of years,” said Jimmy Oneschuk, owner of Museo Coffee Roasters in Saskatoon’s Broadway neighborhood.
He has been keeping his occupancy levels low and serving all of his hot beverages in single-use cups. He does however accept reusable cups safely.
“We would still use it and give it a rinse with boiling hot water which I have on demand so it’s sanitized and we’re keeping everyone safe. I wash my hands 100 times a day so 101 times wouldn’t make much of a difference,” he said.
Coffee chains like Tim Hortons aren’t accepting reusable cups after hearing concerns from restaurant owners and staff.
The province encourages grocery and retail stores to ask customers to not use their own containers, reusable bags or boxes, a practice that aligns with national health guidelines to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
They City of Prince Albert banned plastic bags last year and the City of Regina was in the process but has yet to finalize the decision due to the pandemic.
In statement to CTV News, the Ministry of Environment says it is committed to reducing waste going to landfills through its Solid Waste Management Strategy and asks the public to help.
“Remember the three R’s. Reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce the amount of food waste generated by planning meals, buying only what you need or trying growing your own food this year. You could also start your own compost pile.”
The ministry also noted the importance of SARCAN reopening on June 15.
The province says there is no timeline as to when the recommendations of single-use plastic bags and cups will be lifted.