Pesky plastic still a problem for North Cowichan council

North Cowichan councillors are still trying to bag just the right solution to the tricky problem of getting folks to recycle film plastic.

"They’re so used to the notion of ‘curbside pickup,’" said Coun. Al Siebring, when he reintroduced the vexed subject at a council meeting this fall.

He wondered if North Cowichan would be money ahead to ask residents if they would pay a small annual fee to have it picked up, but was unable to garner support for the idea.

"I think that would be going backward," said Coun. Kate Marsh, but reported to her colleagues that she’d learned at a Cowichan Valley Regional District board meeting that Honeymoon Bay area director Ian Morrison is starting a pilot project around offering residents an easy option to recycling those plastic bags.

"I suspect a lot of it is education.

It’s something we could do," she said.

"Most grocery stores that give out those bags will take them back," said John MacKay, North Cowichan’s engineering director. "Hopefully the people who give these things out won’t do this any more."

Siebring laughed that people who would remember to take plastic bags into the grocery store, would be likely to take reusable bags instead.

Coun. John Koury said that sorting plastics can be time consuming but the Multi Material BC recycling contract cuts out film plastic because the idea is to keep the value of the recyclables high.

Mayor Jon Lefebure said that he, like the others, was still fielding emails on the subject of recycling plastic.

Film plastic is not a valuable commodity in the recycling system and as such was not picked up anywhere else in the province when it was still being picked up in the Cowichan Valley.

"We’ve lost ground on people’s understanding here," he said, adding that the pesky plastic was sometimes even ending up simply on pallets at the depot.

The push is to get retailers to reduce their output of the stuff, he said.

But councillors were still willing to look at the idea of somehow installing small bins for bags in Chemainus or Crofton as a possible solution.