One Big Step Closer to a Single-Use Plastic Bag Bylaw in Sooke

Sincere thanks to District of Sooke council for sending our third-time request for a local single-use plastic bag bylaw to District staff for further study following our council presentation on Monday night. With the comprehensive Capital Regional District (see Sept. 13, 2017 agenda) and City of Victoria bylaws as reference points, we hope and anticipate that it will be relatively simple for staff to draft local legislation.

Here’s the Sooke PocketNews/Britt Santowski take on our portion of a busy council agenda. Appreciation to all our councillors, with a special hat tip to Councillor Logins for recommending that the District explore local initiatives regarding other single-use plastics — straws, bottles and foam containers included. Her amended motion did not pass given the complications that would be entailed in such legislation, but it has set the stage for further action when (and still if) a bag bylaw goes ahead locally.

Until then, we’re pleased to know that our BYOB signs outside four major town-centre retailers are having an impact on shopping habits, according to anecdotal feedback from check-out clerks. Keep up the good work, Sooke!

PS Here are our talking points from July 9 …

~ Single-Use Plastic Bag Regulation: Sooke council noted last year that it would be keeping tabs on how the City of Victoria proceeds with its Checkout Bag regulation. Council was also anticipating the creation of a model bag bylaw by the Capital Regional District.

The CRD model bylaw was included in the Environmental Services Committee agenda dated Sept. 13, 2017. As Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins noted at the meeting: “This is a model bylaw that municipalities can take under advisement and choose to pursue if they so desire.”

The CRD report explained, “an emerging topic of interest is the management of single-use items, such as the City of Vancouver’s single-use item reduction strategy aimed at disposable cups, takeout containers, shopping bags and plastic disposable straws. Single-use plastics are also attracting national and international attention.”

Eliminating single-use plastic is a global priority, and was the theme of Earth Day 2018 internationally. United Nations Climate Change Director Achim Steiner has called for a world-wide ban on plastic shopping bags; representatives from 200 nations passed a resolution at the UN Environmental Assembly this year to eliminate plastic pollution from oceans.  Bag bans and/or taxes have been instituted in recent years in Kenya, Taiwan, the UK, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Australia, France and Morocco. There are anti-bag regulations in 133 US cities.

On Jan. 1, 2018, Montreal became the first major Canadian city to institute a ban on lightweight plastic bags with a thickness of less than 50 microns; just 14 percent of the roughly 2 billion bags used annually in the Montreal region are recycled, a figure consistent with national and international averages.

This June, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the European Union endorsed the G7 ocean plastic charter, which calls for signatory countries to reduce the use of plastics and, where alternatives are not available, find ways to include more recycled materials in the plastics they do use.

 The City of Victoria’s bylaw went into effect on July 1 following a BC Supreme Court decision that rejected a challenge by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association. Oak Bay, Saanich and Esquimalt were among CRD municipalities taking a wait-and-see approach pending the resolution of this case.  On June 18, the court upheld the rights of BC municipalities to i) regulate business transactions within their jurisdictions; and ii) manage the local waste stream.

~ City of Victoria ‘Reducing Single Use Plastic Bags” webpage (bylaw text included)

~ City of Victoria “Retail Toolkit”“developed to help businesses educate their staff and customers about Victoria’s Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw.”

~ Sooke Public Awareness & Education ~ Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) signs:  Many Sooke residents are keen to bring their own canvas shopping bags — provided, that is, they remember to get them from their back seats and car trunks before entering stores. (design for Zero Waste Sooke by Zach Ogilvie/Ogilvie Creative)

 Our colourful reminders to BYOB were posted prominently outside Western Foods,Village Foods, Pharmasave and Home Hardware in the fall of 2017. These leading local retailers enthusiastically supported this initiative; all are registered stewards with Recycle BC. The latter is funded 100 percent by BC businesses and is evidence that retailers are dedicated to reducing their environmental impacts.

 – Sooke Retail Survey: At council’s request, ZWS canvassed a range of local retailers for their views on the subject in the fall of 2016. The Little Vienna Bakery and A Sea of Bloom supported an  outright ban on plastic bags. Whiskers & Waggs favoured a ban on heavy-duty plastic while asking that biodegradable plastic bags be permitted. Peoples (now Pharmasave) did not support a ban for various reasons related to store operations. Chain outlets (i.e.,Subway) and the local BC Liquor Store are bound by corporate decisions made at head office.

Aftermath: Earth Day 2018

Coming up for air 72 hours later! We’re delighted with how Sunday unfolded on many fronts as our unofficial coalition of earth-firsters gathered to honour and celebrate this blue dot we call home. Thanks to every last one of you who participated: attendees, exhibitors, dearly beloved volunteers, Repair Cafe fixers, musicians, upcycling fashionistas, EV trailblazers, PEP talkers, food-truck vendors, sponsors and supporters. Oh, and not forgetting Marjory the Trash Heap (from this weekend’s Amber Academy Fraggle Rock-A-Thon), a surprise guest and literal show-stopper who joined us in the late morning shortly after all of us in the Sooke Community Hall paused for a minute of precious contemplative silence in honour of the 48th annual Earth Day.

Bonus: Beautiful weather, too, hooray! We were delighted so many folks opted to join us for an hour or two while also taking time to do what comes so naturally year-round in this beautiful region, i.e. getting outdoors for quality time by the water, deep in the forest or up a mountainside on two wheels or feet. That’s right: Every day is a fresh Earth Day in the Sooke region.

It took a village! (part one of several). 💚💚💚 to our dedicated, creative and hard-working organizing team (in alpha order by first name): Bernie Klassen, Carol Mallett, David Mallett, Ellen Lewers, Jeff Bateman (aka me), Jo Phillips, Keli Dunn, Leslie Hering, Marlene Barry(coordinator extraordinaire), Mary Dunn, Paula Johanson, Shawna Knight, Tracy Waters and Wendy O’Connor. Without them — Marlene especially — this year’s Earth Day wouldn’t have had much PEP at all! Also raising a coffee mug to Kelly and Yvonne at Kelz Sweet & Savory Bake Shop for hosting our Friday morning planning meetings.

It took a (really pretty big) village! (part two). A deep, respectful bow to our VIP collaborators (and apologies to those we’ve inevitably missed): Christa Rossner (for suggesting in the first place that Sooke needed an Earth Day event); Donna Patterson, Edith Newman and Jean Moncur for the delightful upcycled fashion show; DJ Ron Larson; music coordinator Peter Jonassen and musicians Bob Menzies, The Ed Fury Band, Eric & Linda James and Gord Phillips; PhoebeWood‘s Phoebe Dunbar for the inspiration and the beautiful raffle prize, the hard-working teenagers from the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Admiral RC Waller; our poetry competition judge Wendy Morton; Rosanne Day, Sifu Koshin Moonfist, Frederique Philip, Glyse Clarkston, Carolyn Bateman, Ron Barry, Richard Sharman and George McFetridge for above-and-beyond volunteerism; ALL our volunteers (too many to mention, but we 💚 you too); Repair Cafe fixers Elgin Ambrose, Cyal Cassette, Dan Cottrell, Pam FitzGerald, Triston Line, Jeremy Newell and Tina Saikaley; the Victoria Electric Vehicle Club and their sparkling array of wheels; our line-up of PEP Talkers (Guy Dauncey, Project HOWL‘s Finn Unger, Wild Wise Sooke‘s Debbie Read & Sam Webb, Forest Adam, Steve Unger, Melanie Fast, Andrew Moore, Jenny Ambrose); the kids from Amber Academy Youth Fine Arts Society – Sooke; Sooke Mayor Maja Tait for joining us with Ewan for the opening ceremony; Councillor Brenda Parkinson for making the motion and the District Of Sooke council as a whole for its unanimous and generous foundational funding of our fledgling event; and all our other valued major sponsors, namely Capital Regional District, Interactive Construction, Sooke Home Hardware, Building Centre & Furniture Stores, Speedsource Fitness 24hr Access, Tesla Tours, Vancity, Viridian Energy Co-Operative and Wittich Environmental Svc. Again, without all of the above … 

It took a village (part 3): Extending thanks to our many supporters who contributed prize packages, gift certificates, silent auction items, forethought, and all round cheerleading. Hat tips all around to (in alpha order) 17 Mile House Pub, Academy of Excellence Hair Design & Aesthetics Ltd., Amber Academy Youth Fine Arts Society – Sooke, The Artisan’s Garden, BC Transit, Bits of Bliss Confectionery, Spirit Bay Developments Cafe, Cathy’s Corner Cafe, Dakini Tidal Wilds, upcycler Edith Newman, Glenrosa Farm Restaurant, Go With the Flow Technologies, Great Canadian Dollar Store Sooke, Guy Dauncey, Hara Sushi Japanese Restaurant, Project HOWL, Jenny’s Country Pantry & Tea Shoppe, Kelz Sweet & Savory Bake Shop, Little Vienna Bakery, Livin’ the Dream Farm, Mai Mai’s Bistro, Mom’s Cafe, @Nyoka, Pacific Mobile Depots, Pizzability Glen Lake and Sooke, Route 14 Sooke, SEAPARC, Serious Coffee – Sooke, SFRS Community Thrift Store, Sheila Wallace‘s Coastal Crunch, Shirley Delicious Cafe, Sooke buy & sell – The store, Sooke Family Resource Society, Sooke Montessori Jr Kindergarten, Sooke Mountain Cycle LTD, Sooke News Mirror, Sooke PocketNews, Sooke Region Museum, Saint Vincent De Paul Thrift Store, Stick In The Mud Coffee House, Stoked Wood Fired Pizzeria, Tomi’s Home Cookin, @Touch of Class Chimes, Village Food Markets, Vivienne Gibson Green, West Coast Refill, West Coast Grill at the Prestige Ocean Front Resort Sooke BC, Westcoast Natural Foods, Western Foods, Weston A. Price Foundation, Victoria BC Chapter, West Shore Voice News, Wild Mountain, Windsor Plywood and the Zero Waste Emporium.

Thank you #Sooke. 

 

Third (First Anniversary) Repair Cafe

Once again, we’re issuing the call to everyone in Sooke to bring their out-of-sorts gizmos, gadgets, chain saws and whatevers to the  Sooke Repair Cafe #3 (First Anniversary) on Sunday, April 22. It’s one big, critical (to the 5Rs worldview) aspect of our town’s Planet Earth Party: A Sooke Region Earth Day Celebration.  Our coordinator Bernie Klassen has again rounded up an ace crew to assess, troubleshoot and hopefully return to working order whatever you carry in through the door. Hearty hat tip to (in alphabetical order) Elgin Ambrose (wood repairs), Cyal Cassette (bike tune-ups), Dan Cotterell (soldering), Pam FitzGerald (sewing/mending), Paula Johanson (knitted goods), Triston Line (networking demonstration), Jeremy Newell (general repairs), Benoit Renault (electro-mechanical) and Tina Saikaley (appliances). Doors will be open from 10 am to 3 pm, and you’re again invited to bang a gong and drop a donation in the tip jar for any successful repairs.

Cleaning Up for Earth Day 2018

Beecher Bay, East Sooke, District of Sooke, Otter Point, Shirley … and with the promise of more clean-up action to come throughout the Sooke region. The total haul: Five dumpsters packed to the brim (with recycling and metal duly sorted out, of course).  Thank you AGAIN Sooke Region residents! 🙂

                                                     

                 

Sooke Region Clean-Up on April 14: The Fine Print

Here’s how to participate in the definitive good, clean fun that will be part of the Sooke Region Communities Clean Up, set for Saturday, April 14.

Download the registration form here. Once you’ve filled it out, please email coordinator Wendy O’Connor (wendyoconnor@me.com).  If you have any questions, please call Wendy at 250-361-6569.

Fine print about the clean-up:  Teams can get busy anytime on April 14 and continue as long as they like. Metal, garbage and plastic recycling bins will be set up in strategics spots in each community. Select an area to clean up that is near and dear to you (neighbourhood, favourite spot, an area that has you concerned, even your own backyard or garage). Then check in with Wendy to see whether or not another team has already chosen that area. Feel free to come up with a team theme, crazy team names, wear costumes (while still staying safe), and challenge others to compete against your team! 

 Team Captains can pick up their team kits (high visibility safety vests, gloves and bags) and attend a very short safety briefing with Moonfist, Sooke’s own litter buster hero, at the Stick in the Mud Coffeehouse on Thursday and Friday afternoons, April 12 and 13, between 3 and 5 pm. 

 

The duties of a team captain are: 1) setting a time frame for your clean-up; 2)  picking up the team kit and listening to the aforementioned  safety briefing with Wendy and Moonfist; 3)  distributing the kits to team members; 4) ensuring team members sign a waiver (if you’re working within District of Sooke boundaries); and finally, when the job’s complete, 5) submitting a team snap of you and your haul + a copy of your registration form and any waivers.

Prizes in a wide variety of categories will be awarded at the Planet Earth Party set for the Sooke Community Hall on Earth Day itself a week later. We’re hoping clean-up crews will be in action across the region on April 14 — Scia’new First Nation, East Sooke, District of Sooke, T’Sou-ke First Nation, Otter Point, Shirley, Jordan River, Port Renfrew and the Pacheedaht First Nation included.

Okay, now let’s team-up to clean-up the Sooke region!  Once more with feeling: Thanks to our sponsors & supporters ~  District of Sooke (foundational funding), Capital Regional District, PMD Recycling Solutions and Sooke Disposal Limited.

 

Teaming Up to Clean Up the Sooke Region on April 14

Local teams are forming in communities across the Sooke region as residents enter into a friendly competition on Saturday, April 14 that will ensure the area is truly spick and span prior to the Sooke Region Earth Day Celebration the following weekend.

To register or learn more, contact Wendy O’Connor by email  or phone (250) 361-6965

Organizers are inviting teams of one or more people to register to clean up sections of where they live — big or small, beach or park, highway or byway, even private garages and backyards, it’s entirely up to the person or people involved. Teams can get busy anytime on April 14 and continue as long as they like.

Registration is free of charge. Bins for garbage, recycling and metal will be provided in each community and teams will be supplied with gloves and bags. (A few grabbers are also available, however it’s easy to create one by hammering a large finishing nail into a pole.)

When complete, participants are asked to take a fun photo of themselves alongside their haul, then submit it with a final registration form. Prizes in a wide variety of categories will be awarded at the Planet Earth Party set for the Sooke Community Hall on Earth Day itself, Sunday, April 22. The day-long celebration will involve an exhibition, Repair Cafe, vendors, family activities, upcycled fashion show, evening dance, zero-waste food trucks and more. It is presented by our parent organization Transition Sooke and ourselves in association with the Sooke Fall Fair Association and Creatively United for the Planet.

Ideally, clean-up crews will be in action across the region on April 14 — Scia’new First Nation, East Sooke, District of Sooke, T’Sou-ke First Nation, Otter Point, Shirley, Jordan River, Port Renfrew and the Pacheedaht First Nation included.  Teams are already coming together, and there is no limit to the number of teams that can be involved across the region.

With warm thanks to our Sooke Region Communities Clean-Up sponsors & supporters …  District of Sooke (foundational funding), Capital Regional District, PMD Recycling Solutions and Sooke Disposal Limited.

Sooke Community Grant Report

On March 22, 2017, Zero Waste Sooke presented a grant request to the District of Sooke in the sum of $750 for assistance with the following:

  1. Roadside Clean-Up on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22
  2. Repair Cafes at the Sooke Community Hall (May 27, October 21)
  3. Visit by Victoria Compost Education Centre to the Sooke Country Market (July 8)

Each of our events was offered as a public service either free of charge or, in the case of successful fixes at the Repair Cafes, small donation.

Sincere thanks to the District of Sooke for this support, which is essential to a volunteer-run non-profit operating with a small reserve budget and no full-time staff. We trust that our work has helped the District meet its public education and outreach targets related to climate change.

ZWS GRANT REPORT 2017

Community-Grants-Final-Report-Form-2017-1

Sooke Region Earth Day 2018 Celebration

Exciting news! We’re partnering with our parent organization Transition Sooke, the Sooke Fair Fall Association and Creatively United for a Sooke Region Earth Day Celebration on Sunday, April 22 at the Sooke Community Hall. A team of locals under the direction of event coordinator Marlene Barry have started meeting regularly and are planning a truly diverse, fun and meaningful family event.  Booths, exhibits, displays and activities are planned for the upstairs hall. Workshops will run in the lecture room. And our third Sooke Repair Cafe will proceed downstairs. We’re also hoping to organize another street clean-up (as we did on Earth Day 2017) to encourage folks to get outdoors on what ideally will be a perfect spring day and give our beautiful region a fresh shine and polish.

This year’s international Earth Day Network theme is “end plastic pollution,” and that fits perfectly with much of our work locally, of course. #BYOB.  If you’d like to get involved, the Earth Day Sooke working group welcomes your ideas, inspiration and, especially, your valuable time and energy. Please contact Marlene by email at reflexology4you@gmail.com to learn more. Okay, that’s all for now and stay tuned for more. Yes, we’re pumped about this one too! 🙂 

Furoshiki: Zero Waste Gift Wrap!

Who knew that scarves, t-shirts and random scraps of cloth could be put to such good, practical, zero-waste use?!! 

In addition to all its joys and pressure, the holiday season impells many of us to think about waste, notably the reams of festive gift wrap that is typically used once and then chucked.  Other cultures have solved this dilemma in style as our Wendy O’Connor will again demonstrate during a mini-workshop on the traditional Japanese art of Furoshiki ~ Wed. Nov. 15, 6:30 to 8 pm at the Sooke library.  

Those who took Wendy’s first workshop on the subject last Christmas were delighted at how fun and easy it is to learn this simple, wonderfully creative way to personalize your gifts.  Here’s one easy how-to article if you can’t make it to the library that night.

Stick around afterwards and learn more about Zero Waste Sooke at our regular third-Wednesday-of-the-month meeting. Warm thanks once more to the library’s staff for making their reference-room table available to community groups such as our own.

Sooke Repair Cafe #2: Photo Gallery

Snapshots by which to remember a fun and rewarding Sooke Repair Cafe #2. Our gong was sounded more than 25 times during the day to mark successful repairs, each time generating a round of cheers and the sound of cash being deposited into our donation jar. Warm thanks to all our fixers and all the Sookies who dropped in with either an item for repair or simply to enjoy the warm, communal atmosphere. We’ll be back again next spring and, in the meantime, be sure to hold onto any malfunctioning whatevers so that our team can do their thing next time. A memorable way to celebrate  International Repair Cafe Week as well as Waste Reduction Week in Canada and, thanks to Mayor Maja Tait’s declaration, in Sooke as well.