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B.C. moves to ban some single-use plastic bags, products province-wide

Bill allows requiring price on paper bags or alternatives
Grocery bags and other retail point-of-sale bags are the target of B.C.’s legislation. (Yukon News photo)

The B.C. government is following through on its promise to ban single-use plastic bags at retail outlets across the province, following the lead of some municipalities to go ahead on their own.

Environment Minister George Heyman introduced changes to the Environmental Management Act Tuesday that follows the lead of Victoria’s move to stop the use of plastic bags at the checkout counter and charge for paper bags for customers who don’t have a reusable bag. The changes also allow municipalities to ban plastic drinking straws, utensils and stir sticks.

The amendments will “establish province-wide bans on the sale, distribution or use of prescribed single-use and short-term products, to apply fees on alternatives to single-use products where necessary, and/or require that businesses make items available only by request,” Heyman told the B.C. legislature Oct. 26.

“This legislation will support our government’s commitment to the province-wide phase-out of single-use plastics and it will reduce the environmental impact caused by the amount of plastic waste created in this province, as well as reduce the negative impact of plastic pollution on human health and the environment.

“It will also minimize the risk of unintended consequences posed by other non-plastic single use alternatives. The public expects strong action on problematic single-use products, and local government and industry expect a coordinated provincial approach, and this legislation responds to those expectations.”

RELATED: B.C. green-lights plastic bag bans for five municipalities

RELATED: Victoria’s retail plastic bag ban comes back into effect


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