BY SHANNA FREDERICKS
Step aside stand-up paddleboards, SUP has a new meaning and it's single-use plastic. The anti-plastic movement has firmly taken root in Lunenburg thanks to a local group of concerned citizens called Plastic Free Lunenburg (PFL). And rightly so. With 300 million tonnes of plastic produced globally each year but only 9-15% of it recycled, it's time to turn awareness into action.
We were excited to partner with PFL for their community consultation event, held at the Lunenburg Firehall on January 24, 2019. PFL hopes to gauge the level of support for their goal – to request a legislated ban on single-use plastics in the Town of Lunenburg. With nearly 200 people in attendance and additional open-house events in the days that followed, it certainly seems like the community is ready to tackle our bad habits and get on the right side of history.
Now that we recognize the need to reduce single-use plastics, how do we move beyond awareness to achieve meaningful behaviour change? A by-law banning the sale and distribution of SUPs in the Town of Lunenburg is an excellent place to start, and an opportunity for leadership and innovation. But what happens when we leave town limits? People need to feel the collective empowerment of this movement as they change their individual habits and choices. We need to identify the barriers, both real and perceived, that keep us stuck in our ways.
As research shows, positive encouragement and advice lead to far greater results than fear, shaming, or shock tactics. We can all make simple changes today to refuse and reduce SUP use; here are just a few:
In many ways, Nova Scotia stands among the leaders in waste management across the country. PFL, along with many local businesses, have started something in Lunenburg that just might turn into a pilot program other Nova Scotian towns look to as a shining example.
Here at the Coastal Action office, we're always looking for ways to reduce our waste and lead by example. We'd love to hear about how other local offices and businesses are reducing their plastic use, please share below!