Advocacy | British Columbia | Province | Sustainability

B.C. releases plastics action plan

July 25, 2019

The B.C. Minister of Environment released a discussion paper today asking for response by September 18, 2019.  There are four themes to the discussion paper:

  1. Reviewing the role and benefits of single-use packaging bans (for example, for single-use shopping bags, expanded polystyrene beverage cups and take-out food containers, or, other single-use items). This consultation is essentially a pre-cursor to a province-wide single-use plastic shopping bag ban.
  2. Reducing consumption of plastic single-use packaging-like products (such as utensils, straws, stir-sticks, sandwich bags and wrapping paper) prospectively by including these in an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program.
  3. Improving results from B.C.’s beverage container deposit-refund system (for example, potentially raising the minimum deposit to 10 cents per container; including containers for milk and milk-substitutes; modernizing the regulation to permit deposit refunds to credit cards, debit cards and gift cards while still ensuring a cash refund is available).
  4. Identifying other ways to reduce the use of plastic (for example, national standards on recycled contents).

Currently 10 B.C. local governments have passed plastic bag bans. (RCC maintains an information page on shopping bag regulations.) Numerous other local governments are considering bans.  The B.C. Court of Appeal struck down the City of Victoria’s checkout bag ban bylaw recently.  Since that date pressure has increased upon the Province to take one of two actions: (a) institute a harmonized province-wide single-use plastic shopping bag ban, or, (b) allow local governments to enact bylaws to locally ban single-use plastic shopping bags.

Numerous local governments have called for increases in deposit rates, and, new deposit programs for materials such as cigarette butts.  Many local governments have asked the province to enact province-wide single-use plastic shopping bag ban legislation.

Potential Member Action:

  1. Contribute to RCC’s response to the government’s discussion paper. Please contact Greg Wilson, gwilson@retailcouncil.org, if you would like to contribute to RCC’s response.
  2. Send your own response to the government’s discussion paper.
  3. Complete, and/or encourage colleagues to complete, the Government’s engagement survey on these topics.

Next Steps:

  1. RCC will continue to engage with the Province, regional and local governments on these issues.
  2. RCC will continue to promote a harmonized nation-wide, (or, province-wide) approach to single-use item reduction.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Greg Wilson, Director, Government Relations (British Columbia) at gwilson@retailcouncil.org or 604-736-0368.

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