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

Heavy flows of water pooled on Davis Road after a lead to a fire hydrant burst on Thursday Jan. 21. (Jim Tredwell photo)
Fire hydrant connection burst at Davis Road and Battie Drive

Crews worked well into the night on Thursday Jan. 21 to staunch the flow of water

A pedestrian was transported to hospital after being struck while crossing Roberts Street. (Cole Schisler photo)
Pedestrian struck crossing Roberts Street

The driver remained on scene and is cooperating with police

Emergency crews were called to a semi-truck crash along the Trans-Canada Highway at Oyster Sto’Lo Road on Friday, Jan. 22. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Semi truck crashes off the side of the highway in Ladysmith

Driver taken to hospital as precaution after single-vehicle crash Friday

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy rushed to emergency 3 times after ingesting drugs in Vancouver Island public spaces

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Another staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at Nanaimo care home

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence employee is isolating, says Island Health

Actions of Vancouver Island RCMP emergency response team members prevented a potential head-on collision accident on the Trans-Canada Highway on Jan. 19, says Nanaimo RCMP. (News Bulletin file)
Eight cars evade vehicle driving on wrong side of highway, says Nanaimo RCMP

Incident occurred near Trans-Canada Highway-Morden Road intersection earlier this week

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Most Read