Indigenous-led projects aim to curb plastic use in BC

British Columbia is providing more than $1.3 million through the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund to eight Indigenous-led projects.

The funding was initially announced in August 2022 as part of $10 million from Budget 2022. Under the fund, the province supports up to 80% of eligible project costs.

“To reduce plastic waste and pollution, we need to provide people with alternatives,” said George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change strategy.

“With this provincial funding, Indigenous communities and businesses have access to the financial resources they need to help prevent waste and recover plastics. This will further strengthen Indigenous climate action and benefit everyone.”

The Indigenous Zero Waste Technical Advisory Group is helping project leads apply for funding and supporting implementation, providing the best opportunities for project success.

“Introducing best practices and innovation in plastics recycling and reuse are essential for effective waste management in remote and coastal First Nation communities,” said Calvin Jameson, president, Indigenous Zero Waste Technical Advisory Group.

“The strong interest in Indigenous-led project funding reflects the commitment these communities have in protecting the health and wellness of our natural environment, including eliminating plastic pollution.”

The Indigenous-led projects will establish new ways of processing and reusing post-consumer plastics, promote reusable systems, educate community members and create local jobs. All projects have one year to be completed. This supports the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan’s goal of changing how plastic is designed and used, from temporary and disposable to durable and reusable.

Projects include recycling windshields and laminated glass using specialized machinery and technology, providing zero-waste, reusable containers for commercial cleaning supplies throughout the Okanagan region, and providing communities with dishwashers to eliminate the use of disposable containers and implements, among others.

Other CleanBC Plastics Action Plan strategies to support a circular economy for plastics include reducing the use of single-use plastics, expanding producer-funded recycling programs and funding the largest shoreline cleanup of ocean plastics in provincial history through the Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative.