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Sooke’s plastic bag ban might expand to other plastics

Sooke residents will soon be unable to get single-use plastic shopping bags at store checkout counters. But it might all be for naught anyway.

District council re-introduced a bylaw last week banning plastic grocery bags. The ban will take effect within six months.

In October 2020, the federal government announced a list of single-use plastics it said it planned to ban nationwide by the end of this year, including grocery bags, straws, stir sticks, cutlery, food containers and six-pack rings.

Coun. Al Beddows said society – particularly industry – is moving towards reducing plastic.

“I’m really pleased society is moving in that direction. We’re (Sooke council) with the times,” he said.

The Sooke ban applies only to bags used at checkout counters. Other in-store plastic bags such as those used for bulk foods, fruits and vegetables are still permitted.

The bylaw doesn’t set out alternatives to plastic bags, meaning businesses and customers can choose their own methods for carrying the items.

Last July, B.C. amended regulation under the Community Charter allowing local governments to enact such bans without ministerial approval.

Before the provincial rules changed, bans on single-use plastics were approved for Esquimalt, Nanaimo, Richmond, Rossland, Saanich, Surrey, Tofino, Ucluelet and Victoria. Vancouver’s ban on single-use plastics, as well as foam cups and takeout containers, takes effect on Jan. 1.

It’s estimated that across Canada, its estimated 29,000 tonnes of plastic pollution enter the environment each year, while on a global scale, at least eight million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year.

READ: Sooke councillors missing up to 30% of council meetings

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Kevin Laird

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