Public schools banning plastics in Lambton

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Alex Kurial
Local Journalism Initiative

The Lambton-kent District wants to make single use plastics a thing of the past.
The initiative comes following an October 2019 board meeting in which it was decided that “the board explore ways to phase out and reduce single use plastics and produce a report outlining what steps are doable with recommended timelines.” Catalysts for this movement included increased awareness of negative environmental impact, the federal government’s plan to enact a similar ban as early as 2021, and the neighbouring Greater Essex school board having established a plastic reduction plan of their own.
It is estimated that only around 10 per cent of plastic waste is recycled in Canada each year, with more than three million tonnes thrown away.
To achieve this goal, the board resolved to establish a committee to prioritize what elements of the district’s plastic use can be eliminated, and how they can go about achieving this. The committee will be complemented by engagement with stakeholders as to why this move is important, as well as a financial breakdown of what any changes would cost.
Currently, the district’s heaviest use of single use plastics comes through garbage bags, 713,900 of which were purchased during the last school year. 230,000 gloves were purchased, along with 10,152 water bottles.
Director of education John Howitt says safety will come first and emergencies some plastic may have to be used.