British Columbia | Sustainability

B.C. approves five plastic bag and straw bans; releases intentions paper to expand extended producer responsibility

September 15, 2020

BC Government announcement significantly increases retail operating costs and impacts

On September 12, 2020, the BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy released the “What We Heard” document from the summer 2019 plastic action plan consultation process. The Minister also announced the amendment of the Recycling Regulation (released June 29, 2020). (RCC had provided an update on this change at the time).

The Government also released an intentions paper regarding the expansion of extended producer responsibility. The most critical proposal is to expand the obligation for packaging and printed paper into the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors. In addition, the intentions paper outlines plans to expand product responsibility to include: mattresses and box springs, air mattresses, camping pads, pool and spa chemicals, automotive additives and touch-up paint, medical syringes, veterinary medicines for pets, more pest control products and rodenticides, fertilizer and weed control products, bear spray in flares, compressed gas in canisters (fuel and helium), e-cigarettes and vaping products, motorized yard decorations, large drones, photovoltaic (solar) panels, batteries for electric automobiles, and, items which comprise marine debris (e.g., fishing gear, lines, nets, traps and floats). RCC is pleased to meet with members who sell impacted products prior to the development of our response.

The Minister also announced the approval of plastic shopping bag ban bylaws in the City of Victoria, City of Richmond, District of Saanich, District of Tofino and the District of Ucluelet (plastic straws were also banned by Tofino and Ucluelet). RCC maintains a list of shopping bag bans here. The Province will also announce plans for framework legislation to allow province-wide bans.

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