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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

The Interior Wildfire Rehabilitation Society is looking for 10-15 acres to house a rehab centre for injured and orphaned wildlife like deer and moose calves. (Black Press file photo)
Okanagan group look for property to house wildlife rehab centre

The Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society is looking for 10 acres for injured/orphaned animals

Darrell RIchards and his Harley Davidson Streetglide in front of Discovery House in Penticton on Nov. 5. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton biker still in running to win custom chopper competition

Darrell Richards is sitting in first in the final round of the group stage

Penticton law courts
Osoyoos child sex offender in court

Shawn Titus, 37, is charged with possession of child porn

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Summerland residents have been receiving a telephone scam with the number showing as the telephone number of the local RCMP detachment. (Black Press Media files)
Summerland RCMP telephone number spoofed in scam calls

Number used in scam attempts from tax agency

(Village of Lumby photo)
Mysterious, loud ‘boom’ shakes North Okanagan residents

Village staff, Earthquakes Canada aren’t sure what caused the explosion-like sound

Clarence Fulton students collect cash and non-perishable food donations for families in need in their community Friday, Nov. 27. (Jennifer Smith  - Morning Star)
North Okanagan students collect food for families in need

Annual event to support nine school families this year

Take a break from the slopes to discover the rich culture and diversity of Vernon. Michelle Beaudry photo, courtesy Tourism Vernon.
Tourism Vernon could see 40% cut to budget due to COVID-19

New approach to help residents and visitors activate their adventures

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Leighton Allen Labute faces charges of animal abuse and allegedly has a string of social media accounts depicting disturbing content.
Accused Kelowna hamster killer has trial date set for 2021

Leighton Labute’s three day trial is scheduled for Aug. 16, 2021

Most Read