Video: Students speak out on single-use plastic at Langara

Recent study shows that the public is concerned by the environmental impact of plastic items

A woman reaches for the fork dispenser in the cafeteria at Langara College.
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by Liam Hill-Allan, Henri Ngimbis, Nathan Gan

Mark Adams, director of ancillary services at Langara said in an e-mail response that the the college is “investigating options to reduce single-use plastics.”

B.C. residents concerned

A recent study conducted by Insights West, found that 88% of B.C. residents are concerned about the environmental impact of these items, while 81% support a proposed ban.

Straws, plastic bags, plastic utensils, plastic plates, clamshells and plastic cups are all considered to be single-use plastics by the Recycling Council of British Columbia.

While Langara is yet to fully stop the use of these items on campus, the college has made efforts to reduce waste in the past, including adding extra water fill stations in an effort to “reduce single-use plastic waste.”

In an email, Adams said that the college is currently looking into using less single-use plastics on campus “while maintaining high-levels of service for our community.”

Post secondary institutions produce significant amounts of waste. In 2013, Langara reported 750 pounds of garbage a day.

 

Some have already stopped using the plastics

While the government of Canada has announced a plan to ban harmful single-use plastics by 2021, some institutions like UBC have already stopped providing single-use plastics, following a student-led petition.

Some students at Langara, like student Prerna Malik, have a similar outlook on single-use plastics.

“We understand that this is a global issue,” Malik said. “So we must discard the practice of single-use plastics.”

Langara student Shannon Ha said he was concerned that Canada is behind in it’s policy.

“Every time I go back home [to Korea] for the holidays, they’ve already implemented paper straws for few years,” Ha said.

For those who continue to use single-use plastics, Harvinder Aujala, director of policy & communications at the Recycling Council of British Columbia said that this kind of waste doesn’t always need to end up in a landfill.

“We advise people that waste must not always end in landfills,” Aujula said. “There are many solutions like recycling [or] reusing.”

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