BC municipalities are being “empowered to ban single-use plastics” by the provincial government through the amendment of a regulation under the Community Charter.
The amendment will allow local governments to ban single-use plastic, which includes plastic grocery bags, styrofoam containers and plastic utensils, including stir sticks.
“By giving municipalities the ability to act swiftly to enact bans on unnecessary plastics, this amendment will support the systemic change we need to stop plastic pollution,” said Laura Hardman, director of plastics for Oceanwise, in a statement.
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“Council is committed to reducing landfill waste, and we are proud that Surrey will be one of the first cities in the Metro Vancouver region to implement a ban on plastic checkout bags,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.
This change falls under the umbrella of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan.
The province is also hoping to increase the number of consumer products that can be recycled through the various residential recycling programs that exist across BC.
Milk and milk-alternative containers will be added to the deposit-refund system as of February 2022. They’re also adding more single-use items to the packing part of the recycling regulation that comes into effect in January of 2023.
Since 2020, over 127 tonnes of plastic have been removed from BC’s coastline under the Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative.
In 2019, the Ministry of the Environment estimated that over 340,000 tonnes of plastic items and packaging were disposed of in BC. That equals over 65 kilograms of waste going into the landfill, per person, in one year.
Find the full statement here.