Victoria adopts bylaw to ban single-use plastic bags from businesses
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, January 12, 2018 11:30AM PST
Last Updated Friday, January 12, 2018 6:38PM PST
Victoria has officially banned the bag.
Following an 8-1 vote by council, B.C.'s capital became the province's first city to ban single-use plastic bags Thursday night.
The ban applies to plastic checkout bags, meaning any bags used by customers for transporting items purchased from businesses, or for take-out and delivery food.
Under the "checkout bag regulation bylaw," businesses will also only be allowed to provide paper or reusable bags to customers if they ask for them.
The paper bags will cost consumers at least $0.25 as per the bylaw, while retailers must charge at least $1 for reusable bags – and those costs will go up to $0.25 and $2, respectively, in January 2019.
There are some exceptions to the ban: bags used to package loose bulk foods, hardware items, meat or plants, dry cleaning bags, and bags that protect linens, beddings or other large items that can't fit in a reusable bag will not be affected.
It also doesn't apply to plastic bags purchased for use at a customer's home, such as garbage bags, provided they're sold in packages of multiple bags.
The bylaw also introduces fines for businesses found to be handing out plastic bags, or not charging for paper or reusable bags, of up to $100 per offence.
Coun. Ben Isitt, who voted in favour of the bylaw, called it a "big day" and said the city was showing leadership for the rest of the province.
Mayor Lisa Helps thanked the business community for its leadership on the issue.
"This is about how we do business in Victoria as a city, in every shop, in every restaurant in the city's borders, and hopefully soon, every shop and every restaurant in the region's borders," she said.
Coun. Geoff Young, the lone dissenting vote, voiced concern about moving forward on such a sweeping ban without partnership from the Capital Region or the province.
"I'm very concerned that by moving forward alone, we're not moving forward with the region and the province in the best possible way," he said.
Helps responded to those comments Friday, saying the process would have been much more drawn out if the CRD's approval was needed.
"If we waited for regional consensus, we saw how long it took to get sewage treatment done," she said. "Sometimes when you can, you need to take a step forward knowing that others are watching, and in a lot of cases, waiting."
The bylaw comes into effect on July 1 this year. Enforcement of the fines will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.