Plastic straws are pictured in North Vancouver, B.C. on Monday, June 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

Plastic straws are pictured in North Vancouver, B.C. on Monday, June 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

B.C. approves plastic bylaws in 5 communities, aims for provincial plan

The new provincial regulation will take between six to eight months to develop

British Columbia has approved bylaws banning single-use plastics in five communities as it drafts a regulation allowing other local governments to create their own policies without the need for provincial approval.

Environment Minister George Heyman said Victoria, Richmond, Saanich, Tofino and Ucluelet have taken action to prevent waste such as shopping bags, straws and Styrofoam take-out containers from ending up in the ocean and landfills.

The local governments will decide when the newly approved bylaws go into effect, Heyman said Saturday.

“Every local government knows what’s needed and what will work in their community and they should be able to make decisions within certain consistent criteria that the government will lay out.”

Mayor Malcolm Brodie of Richmond said the city will work with businesses to determine when the bylaw will go into effect because many with a large stockpile of plastic products could face an extra financial burden during COVID-19.

The new provincial regulation will take between six to eight months to develop but other municipalities could still work on their own bylaws in the meantime, Heyman said.

“We will first help them and advise them on the construction of their bylaws and we will approve them expeditiously,” he said.

Victoria implemented its own ban on plastic bags in July 2018 but it was struck down a year later after a legal challenge by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association.

In January, the Supreme Court of Canada decided it would not reconsider a lower-court ruling that stopped the city from regulating single-use plastic bags.

Heyman said he doesn’t expect any legal challenges because the province is working toward giving municipalities the power to create and implement their own bylaws, which would need to allow for some single-use products.

The government will also begin developing a legal framework for a provincial ban on single-use plastics in partnership with local and federal governments, he said.

As of January 2023, B.C. will expand the number of products that can be recycled through recycling programs to include items like plastic cutlery, stir sticks and sandwich bags.

The province is also exploring ways to add other material to its recycling programs, especially in the northern and Interior regions of the province, including mattresses, propane canisters, electric-vehicle batteries and fishing gear, Heyman said.

A standardized 10-cent deposit will be implemented on beverage containers at Return-It depots and milk and milk alternative containers will be recyclable there as of February 2022, the environment minister said.

The return system will be modernized to allow for refunds to be processed electronically, he said, adding many of the changes have come from public consultations involving 35,000 B.C. residents.

— By Camille Bains in Vancouver.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Plastic waste

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An electronic sign at the Tofino-Ucluelet junction notifies travellers heading towards Sutton Pass that closure windows are in effect Thursday morning. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Survey swirls up confusion around Tofino-Ucluelet highway closures

“The Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Project closure times remain the same for now,” ministry says

Kevin Cortes, Matt Crist, Cris Martin, Mike Moore and Steve Mancini were delighted by the amount of support they received while collecting donations during a past Stuff the Cruiser event at the Ukee Co-op. (Westerly File photo)
West Coast set to ‘Stuff the Cruiser’ on Saturday

Food Bank on the Edge has three easy and safe ways for folks to donate

Nuu-chah-nulth language champion Tim Masso holds his Rainy Coast Arts Award. (Jessie Masso photo)
Masso and Wenstob receive 2020 Rainy Coast Arts Award

Tla-o-qui-aht brothers share Pacific Rim Arts Society honour

Pamela Evans gazes lovingly at her four-year-old French bulldog Jack on Thursday, Nov. 5. The energetic young pup has regained his usual rambunctiousness after recently recovering from a significant illness brought on by consuming discarded cannabis new Brown’s Beach in Ucluelet. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Discarded cannabis a “frequent” threat to pets in Tofino-Ucluelet

“I couldn’t grab him fast enough to get it out of his mouth before he swallowed it.”

The School District 70 administration office in Port Alberni. AV NEWS FILE PHOTO
Four Alberni schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

Exposures occurred between Nov. 19 and Nov. 25 depending on the school

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Most Read