Single-Use Items Reduction Strategies Workshop

The Recycling Council of Alberta organized a workshop on Single-Use Items Reduction Strategies on March 26, 2019 in Wetaskiwin, delivered in partnership with Waste Free Edmonton.

Increasingly, communities, governments of all levels and the public at large are targeting single-use items as a source of concern for environmental impacts such as litter and recycling challenges. This workshop featured organizations that have made efforts to address the impacts of single-use items in their communities, including Blue Bayfield, an organization from Bayfield, Ontario, of concerned citizens with a mission to reduce the use of disposable items and prevent plastic and pollutants from entering their Great Lake and waterways.

The workshop was hosted in Wetaskiwin, a city who is currently introducing a plastic checkout bag bylaw. They shared their experiences, along with other municipalities who have, or are planning, bylaws addressing single use items.


Click on the links to download the presentations:

1:00 – 1:30 pm
Voluntary Community Based Plastics Reduction Programs

1:30 – 2:15 pm
Grassroots Single-Use Item Reduction Campaigns

2:15 – 3:00 pm
Single-Use Reduction Strategies / Plans

BREAK 3:00 – 3:15 pm

3:15 – 4:30 pm
Regulatory Initiatives – Single-Use Bag Reduction Programs

4:30 pm
Closing Remarks

Speaker Biographies

Isabelle Couture
Director of Engagement & Collaboration, Plastic-Free YYC

Isabelle Couture is the proud co-founder of Plastic-Free YYC, a non-profit aimed at reducing single-use and other unnecessary plastic by inspiring individuals, collaborating with businesses, and encouraging governing bodies to spark change. Born in Quebec City, Isabelle’s passion for sustainability and citizen-led action led her to pursue graduate studies in public administration at the University of Victoria and volunteer with several community groups before taking the plunge and launching PFYYC with her co-founder extraordinaire. In her spare time, you can find her in and around Calgary being walked by her four-legged companion, experimenting with various Zero Waste DIY recipes or getting her hands dirty with her partner in their ever-growing garden. Isabelle is dedicated to developing, supporting, and enhancing partnerships in our community.

Melissa Gorrie
Co-Founder & Director, Waste Free Edmonton

Melissa is an environmental lawyer who has worked with all levels of government to push for policy and law reform. She has volunteered with numerous social justice and environmental organizations over the last decade, which has provided her with a wealth of experience in non-profit governance. She has also been involved in various environmental campaigns. She co-founded Waste Free Edmonton as a way to counter the frustration and sadness she feels in seeing the vast amount of waste produced in her community. Melissa is extremely excited to work with citizens, government, and businesses to reduce the amount of waste produced in Edmonton!

John Graham
Director of Government Relations (Prairie Region), Retail Council of Canada

For over 20 years John represented Safeway’s $5 billion business interests across Western Canada, most recently in the senior role of Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations.   As part of his duties, John has had exposure to a wide range of sustainability issues, including being part of the company’s onboarding team for many waste diversion and programs across the West.

In 2017, John joined the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), a not-for-profit, industry-funded association that representing more than 45,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada.  As Alberta’s largest private sector employer, more than 250,000 Albertans are currently employed in the retail sector.

RCC and its members understand the vital link between a healthy environment and a healthy economy, and currently participate in nearly a hundred environmental stewardship programs across the country.

As a director on the boards of Alberta Recycling, Encorp Pacific and Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba, and through his participation on the RCC EPR / Stewardship Committee, John has developed an appreciation for the complexity of these issues.

John is married with two children and resides in Winnipeg – home of the future Stanley Cup Champions.

Ray Letheren
Blue Bayfield

Schooled in design, Ray began teaching in Toronto following his work as a furniture designer. In the late 80’s, as a Technical Director, he is credited with the introduction of technology education as a means of integrating all subjects. For this he received the Prime Minister’s Award in teaching of science and technology. Since retirement in 1994, he has been actively engaged in the environmental movement with a particular focus on water protection. His work has been recognized and he has received acknowledgement with Home Town Hero Award from Earth Day Canada, Conversationalist of Year by the regional conservation authority. He has chaired Blue Bayfield for 20 years and written a column in a regional paper on environmental issues.

Briana Loughlin
Plastic-Free YYC

Briana is the Co-founder and Director of Inspiration & Changes for Plastic-Free YYC. Briana is an enthusiastic environmentalist with a love for travel and adventure, hoping to spark a change for healthier planet. Through positive, encouraging words and imagery, she hopes to promote plastic-free living within every individual. She has earned a commerce degree from the University of Alberta, majoring in International Business and Marketing, as well as certificates in Social Media for Business from Mount Royal University and in Language and Culture in Business from Universidad de Guadalajara. Over the years she found herself visiting many sandy and yet polluted beaches, only to return to Alberta to discover a disconnect between the health of our ocean and her hometown mindset. So, using her experience and expertise in marketing, communications and social media tactics, paired with her passion to clean our oceans and waterways, she brought the plastic-free movement to the prairies.

Patricia Misutka
City of Edmonton

Patricia Misutka has consulted extensively in the areas of stakeholder issues, policy development and media and issues management, advising private and public sector clients and government and non-profit organizations. She also has extensive experience in the public sector as Principal Secretary to Alberta Premier Jim Prentice (2014-15) and as Chief of Staff to Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel (2004-2013). She is currently the project lead on the City of Edmonton’s 25-year waste strategy: an extensive remodeling of programs and operational platforms in support of the City’s goals of 90 percent diversion of waste from landfill.

Patricia Misutka has also completed course work towards her PHD University of Victoria, Gustavson School of Business (Currently ABD) focusing on International Business and Sustainability. She has published and presented in the area of sustainability measurement practices including in the Alberta Oil Sands and advancement and expansion of Indigenous stakeholder claims related to pipeline projects in Western Canada.

Patricia received her Masters of Business Administration degree and studied Honours History at the University of Alberta. She currently lives in Victoria, BC.

Jacqueline Pelechytik
City of Wetaskiwin

Jacqueline started in municipal government in 2016 as the Municipal Intern for the City of Wetaskiwin, and currently serves as Wetaskiwin’s Legislative Officer. Jacqueline’s diverse portfolio includes coordinating corporate policy research and review, bylaw development, managing FOIP requests and training, acting as the secretary for City Council meetings, as well as the clerk of the Assessment Review Board and the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.

She further works with special legislative projects such coordinating the 2017 Municipal Election and preparing for upcoming census work in the City. With her background in legislative services and project coordination, she was put on the Plastic Bag Ban project in 2018 as the project lead.

Jacqueline completed her undergraduate degree in Political Science with distinction from the University of Alberta in 2015, where she worked as the Associate Director of the Student’s Union Safewalk service. She currently lives in Wetaskiwin with her 15 year old Senegal parrot named Bill.