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The Province Amends a Regulation to Allow Local Governments to Ban Single-Use Plastics – Chilliwack Already Has Rules On The Books

Victoria/Fraser Valley – The Province has amended a regulation under the Community Charter to allow local governments to ban single-use plastics, including plastic checkout bags, polystyrene foam containers and plastic utensils, which includes stir sticks. Previously, municipalities required ministerial approval to implement a plastics ban.

More than 20 municipalities in B.C. are developing bylaws banning single-use plastics. Under the previous regulation, bylaws were approved for the municipalities of Chilliwack, Esquimalt, Nanaimo, Richmond, Rossland, Saanich, Surrey, Tofino, Ucluelet and Victoria.

During the March 16, 2021 meeting of Chilliwack Council, The draft Single-Use Item Reduction Bylaw proposes to ban plastic shopping bags, foam beverage cups, foam take-out containers, plastic straws except those for accessibility needs, and plastic disposable utensils. The bylaw also implements a minimum fee for some single-use items made from other materials, while requiring other single-use items to be available by request only. Council has indicated their intention to extend the ban to cover bulk sales of single-use items if these aren’t banned through Federal or Provincial regulations in the near future. The Single-Use Item Reduction Bylaw is intended to come into effect on January 1, 2022, but the timelines for implementation will consider the COVID-19 pandemic and the status of economic recovery.

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This change is one part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan. The Province is also expanding the number of products to be recycled through residential recycling programs by adding milk and milk-alternative containers to the deposit-refund system effective February 2022, and more single-use items to the packaging part of the Recycling Regulation effective January 2023. It is also piloting new projects to use reclaimed plastic waste in new manufacturing through the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund.

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