April 1, 2005

York Region bans the use of plastic bags for yard waste

NEWMARKET – Starting this spring, York Region will no longer be accepting plastic bags for yard waste.  Residents can set out yard waste for collection in kraft paper yard waste bags or clearly marked reusable containers. 
“Many jurisdictions have already switched or are in the process of switching over to kraft bags for yard waste collection,” said Regional Chair Bill Fisch.  “These bags are reasonably inexpensive to purchase, far less expensive to process and much better for the environment.”
The move to kraft bags was made following an Ipsos-Reid survey conducted on behalf of the Region on the waste management habits of York Region residents.  The survey found that 90 per cent of respondents favoured the switch to kraft bags from plastic.
“Switching to kraft bags simply makes good sense, both economically and environmentally,” said Georgina Regional Councillor Danny Wheeler, Chair of the Region’s Solid Waste Management Committee.  “Kraft bags degrade naturally and can be left in the compost.  Plastic bags must be manually removed from the yard waste and shipped to landfills.”
The switch to kraft bags will save local taxpayers over $200,000 per year in reduced processing costs.  The change will also help with York Region’s ongoing waste diversion efforts.
Information packages will be distributed in April to all York Region homeowners regarding the bag change. 
The package contains:
• A 10 per cent discount card off the regular purchase price of kraft paper yard waste bags at selected stores across York Region
• Information on the use of kraft paper bags, backyard composting, “grasscycling” and leaf mulching
• A yard waste label for those who wish to use reusable containers instead of kraft bags
The change is part of a larger effort by the Region to encourage residents to help with landfill diversion efforts by separating waste into their proper disposal streams.  Recyclables such as pop bottles and compost from yard waste are not permitted in landfills, requiring time-consuming checks to sort these materials out of garbage bags before disposal.  Separating recyclables into the Blue Box and grass and yard waste into kraft paper bags greatly cuts down on this process and helps to ensure that unnecessary waste is kept from landfills.
Further information on yard waste disposal or recycling, is available via a link on the main page of York Region’s Web site, and at various environmental events taking place this spring.
Advertisements reminding residents of the bag change will appear in local newspapers in the spring and fall.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.york.ca
Contact:   Michael Kemp, Corporate Communications, York Region
- (905) 830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1232
- Email: michael.kemp@york.ca

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