British Columbia | Plastics and Alternatives | Sustainability

BC single-use bylaw updates

January 18, 2022

Post updated as of January 24, 2021

RCC has a Plastics Committee to which updates on single-use bag (cup, straw and utensil) bylaws are posted.  BC has had an amount of recent activity by local governments enacting bylaws. 

On July 27, 2021, B.C.’s Environment Minister issued a ministerial order under the Community Charter (local-government enabling legislation) to govern the implementation of local single-use bylaws. RCC has expressed significant concern about:

  • short implementation time-frames (using up existing supplies of plastic bags, acquisition of paper bags with 40% or greater recycled content) – coupled with supply and supply chain issues, RCC worries that this will lead to the need to import acceptable paper bags from Asia by air (resulting in higher greenhouse gas emissions;
  • the need for standardization across communities to ease understanding for consumers and operations for business (standardized list of requirements, exemptions, fees and implementation time-frames);
  • the lack of a standardized list of exemptions; and
  • an unusual and unprecedented definition of reusable bags that requires a bag to be designed to be machine-washable and usable at least 100 times – limiting the ability for retailers to sell and use some forms of bag including jute bags.

1. City of Vancouver is scheduled to begin their bag and cup bylaws (delayed) January 1, 2022.  Their straw and utensil bylaws were in effect April 22, 2020.  Their take-out food container ban of extended polystyrene began January 1, 2020.

2. Of the five municipalities whose bag bylaws were approved by the Province in September 2020:

  1. City of Victoria bylaw is in effect as of April 15, 2021;
  2. Tofino and Ucluelet are already in effect;
  3. Richmond’s bylaw was approved on September 27, 2021 by Council. The bylaw will be implemented on March 27, 2022, with enforcement to begin September 27, 2022 following community engagement. The ban will impact single-use plastic checkout bags, foam containers and plastic straws. Richmond does not plan to mandate fees or have minimum requirements for paper or reusable bags;
  4. Saanich’s bylaw is in effect as of August 20, 2021.

3. Four bylaws were approved by the Province on February 12, 2021:

  1. Nanaimo’s bylaw is in effect as of July 1, 2021.
  2. Surrey’s bylaw is in effect as of October 18, 2021.
  3. Esquimalt’s bylaw is in effect as of August 16, 2021.
  4. Rossland passed their bylaw on March 8, 2021, coming into effect immediately.

4. Squamish: 

RCC’s expectation is that Squamish will amend their bylaw to comply with the regulatory amendment before they can enact it. 

5. Chilliwack

Chilliwack has updated their bylaw to comply with the provincial regulation, it was approved on September 21, 2021 and will come into effect on April 1, 2022. The bylaw mandates a minimum 15 cent charge for paper shopping bags and $1 fee for reusable bags during the Introductory Period from April 1 to December 31, 2022, rising to minimum 15 cents and $2, respectively, as of January 1, 2023. The bylaw also bans the distribution of foam drink cups, foam containers, and single-use plastic utensils as of April 1, 2022. Non-plastic disposable utensils and paper straws will only be available at customer request, and plastic straws will only be available at customer request for accessibility reasons. Chilliwack has also indicated that they will look to establish a fee for single-use plastic and paper drink cups once legislative authority for these items has been granted by the Province.

6. Port Moody

Port Moody’s bylaw was adopted on October 12, 2021 and will come into effect April 22, 2022. The bylaw bans single-use plastic bags (with standard exceptions), mandates a minimum 25 cent charge for paper shopping bags and $2 fee for reusable bags. The bylaw will also ban the distribution of foam containers, plastic stir sticks, and plastic drinking straws (with an exemption for those with accessibility needs who request a plastic drinking straw).

7. Sooke

Sooke’s bylaw was adopted on November 22, 2021 and will come into effect May 22, 2022. The bylaw bans single-use plastic bags (with standard exceptions), mandates a minimum 25 cent charge for paper shopping bags and $2 fee for reusable bags.

8. Delta

Delta’s bylaw was passed on December 6, 2021 and is expected to be adopted on June 6, 2022. It will come into effect six months after adoption, with enforcement beginning a year after adoption. The bylaw bans single-use plastic bags (with standard exceptions), mandates a minimum 25 cent charge for paper shopping bags and $2 fee for reusable bags. The bylaw will also ban polystyrene takeout containers and cups.

9. Revelstoke

Revelstoke’s bylaw was passed on January 11, 2022 and will come into effect July 1, 2022, with enforcement beginning six months later on January 1, 2023. The bylaw bans single-use plastic bags (with standard exceptions), mandates a minimum fee of 15 cents per paper shopping bag and $1.00 per reusable bag. The bylaw also bans plastic straws and polystyrene takeout containers and cups.

10. Other local governments

RCC expects a number of other local governments to introduce bylaws in the coming weeks and months.  RCC will work to track them all on this page.

MunicipalityStatusItems
City of Campbell RiverConsidering bylaw
Town of SidneyConsidering bylaw
City of Powell RiverConsidering bylaw
City of Pitt MeadowsConsidering bylawPlastic bags, (possibly foam, cups, straws)
District of North VancouverConsidering bylaw
District of West VancouverConsidering bylawBags, cups, foam
City of White Rock Considering bylaw
Resort Municipality of WhistlerConsidering bylaw
City of KamloopsConsidering bylawCheckout bags
District of SummerlandConsidering bylaw
City of Salmon ArmConsidering bylawCheckout bags
City of Williams LakeConsidering bylaw
City of Prince GeorgeConsidering bylawCheckout bags
City of ColwoodPlanning to implementCheckout bags
District of SookePlanning to implementCheckout bags
Town of Qualicum Beach Planning to implementCheckout bags and plastic straws
City of Courtenay Planning to implementCheckout bags and plastic straws
Town of ComoxPlanning to implementCheckout bags and straws
Village of CumberlandPlanning to implementCheckout bags and straws
Village of Harrison Hot SpringsPlanning to implementCheckout bags, straws, foam and plastic containers, cutlery, stir sticks
City of ChilliwackSubmitted for review to BCCheckout bags, foam serviceware, straws, fees on cups,  utensils (ban plastic, by request for alternatives)
City of Port MoodySubmitted for review to BC
District of SquamishConsidering adapting bylaw to meet new regulationPlastic, biodegradable plastic, or compostable plastic checkout bags and plastic straws

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