NESPELEM – A Colville Business Council initiated ban on plastic bags and straws sold at stores within the boundaries of the Colville Reservation has gone into effect as of Jan. 1.

Resolution 2019-678, which approved the ban, reads, “It is the recommendation of the Management & Budget/Community Committee to approve a prohibition of the use of plastic grocery bags and plastic straws from all businesses within the interior boundaries of the Reservation. Businesses will use eco-friendly alternatives such as paper grocery bags and straws while encouraging customers to use reusable grocery bags.”

An informational brochure from the Colville Tribal Environmental Trust Offices notes, “The BIG problem with many of these plastic bags is that we are not disposing of them properly. You can find them littering parks, roadsides and are harmful to animals. 

Plastics straws never go away, instead breaking down into tinier and tinier bits. Those bits are ingested by fish and birds and other creatures, making their way into the human food chain.”

The brochure continues to note, “If simply requesting “no straw” at bar’s and restaurants, and requesting that businesses only give out straws upon request. It would not only reduce the amount of plastic straws in our waste-stream overnight, it would be a positive in savings for businesses and municipalities. Additionally if a business were to replace the plastic straw with a fully compostable or reusable straw it would stop one big part of the stream of plastic pollution from the source.”

Trusts’ Kathy Moses and Colville Tribal Recycling’s Joaquin Bustamante are expected to attend upcoming district meetings to discuss the change.

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