Oak Bay officially embarks on its single-use bag ban come November, with many businesses already there.
After years of debate, the ban came to swift fruition with adoption of the bylaw May 24.
“We’re obligated by law to have a break between third reading and adoption should there be any sort of sober second thought given,” Mayor Kevin Murdoch explained.
The bylaw prevents businesses in Oak Bay from offering single-use plastic bags at the point of purchase and will require businesses to charge a minimum fee for paper and reusable bags.
The changes take effect Nov. 24, but the district hopes residents will switch now to reusable bags. Many local businesses have already made the shift, staff found during consultation last year.
The municipal survey of businesses in late 2021 found more than half of those who filled out the survey report using no single-use plastic on site already.
Some respondents commented they’ve already eliminated plastic bags, expecting a federal ban would be in place by now.
The changes will help reduce plastic waste in the community and landfills, Murdoch said later.
“They will also improve regulatory consistency within the region, essentially mirroring similar bylaws in place in Victoria, Saanich, and Esquimalt.”
This winter plastic checkout bags will no longer be available at businesses in Oak Bay and businesses will charge a fee for paper and reusable checkout bags. To phase in the bylaw, for the first year the minimum fee will be 15 cents for each paper bag and $1 for each reusable bag. After that, the minimum fee will be 25 cents for paper bags and $2.
The fees aim to help businesses recover the cost of bags.
Oak Bay is one of more than 30 municipalities in B.C. that are taking action to reduce the impacts of single-use plastic while the federal and provincial governments are also developing management strategies. The province is seeking feedback on preventing single-use and plastic waste through engage.gov.bc.ca/plastics.
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