Restaurants across Canada, including those in Swift Current, are having to plan around the new single-use plastics regulations.

In 2023, Canada is implementing a ban on importing and producing single-use plastics, specifically those found in the restaurant industry.

Things like straws, stir sticks, take-out containers, and plastic cutlery, are all on the chopping block. The food services industry will have to find alternatives that work for the specifics of their situations, with them only being allowed to use up the remainder of their stock. Once that stock of single-use plastics runs out, the switch will be permanent.

Salil Raul, the general manager of both the K-Motel Family Restaurant and Springs Garden Restaurant and Lounge, is already planning for the change.

"The vendors are providing the substitute for it, which is the plant-based plastic which is PEA," shared Raul. "I feel they are a bit on the expensive end, but if that's what it takes, we should all do it."

The goal is to remove single-use plastics from circulation, which will help keep them out of landfills and from ending up as litter in the wider world. 

While Raul has his doubts, he is happy to be part of the movement to eliminate waste.

"If you ask me really, is it going to be a visible change or an effect? I would say no," said Raul. "But on the other hand, I think that it should begin somewhere and this is one small step towards it." 

Raul has already been taking steps towards implementing different materials in his lineup of single-use paraphernalia, keeping ahead of the curve.

"When it comes to straws, we are using paper straws and stuff like that," said Raul. "They're not as good as the plastic ones, to be honest."

While the paper-based alternatives do tend to expire sooner compared to their traditional plastic counterparts, it's worth considering it's only a momentary inconvenience. While having a straw go soft an hour or so after starting to use it is a sign of room to improve the product, it's better than billions of straws packing the landfills for decades if not centuries to come. 

When it comes to tackling plastic waste, Raul is concerned that they aren't aiming high enough on the production totem pole. 

"That's completely on the policymakers," said Raul. "I think they should go after the bigger manufacturers rather than coming after the small businesses."

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