WATCH: The City of Victoria will become the first in B.C. to ban plastic shopping bags as of July 1. April Lawrence reports.
Starting on July 1, shoppers in Victoria will no longer be able to receive a single-use plastic bag from retailers.
On Thursday night, Victoria city council voted 8-1 to ban single-use plastic bags. The city will be the first in British Columbia to adopt this type of ban.
“What I’ll be most excited about is getting pictures from the landfill in the future and not seeing millions of plastic bags in there,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
The bylaw, which is called the “Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw” states that the purpose of the bylaw is to “regulate the business use of single-use checkout bags to reduce the creation of waste and associated municipal costs, to better steward municipal property, including sewers, streets and parks, and to promote responsible and sustainable business practices that are consistent with the values of the community.”
The ban applies to plastic checkout bags, which are bags that are used by customers to transport items from a business, or for take-out and delivery food.
Under the bylaw, businesses will only be allowed to provide a paper or reusable bag to customers if they request one.
Bags used to package loose bulk foods, meat or plants or small hardware items are exempt. Other exemptions to the ban include bags that protect prepared foods or bakery goods, contain prescription drugs, transport live fish, protect linens and bedding, protect newspapers or other printed material and protect clothes.
The ban also doesn’t apply to plastic bags that are purchased to be used for a home or a business, provided they are sold in packages of multiple bags.
There will also be fines for businesses that are found to be handing out single-use plastic bags or are not charging for paper or reusable bags. The fines are up to $100 per offence.
Coun. Geoff Young voted against approving the bylaw, saying he had some concerns that the city was rushing into the bans.
“Victoria council seemed to be overly anxious to be the first as opposed to working together with some of the other councils which we know are interested in the issue,” said Young.
The bylaw comes into effect on July 1 and enforcement of the fines will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019. There will also be a required charge for paper bags on July 1.
The cost of paper bags and reusable bags will also be going up on Jan. 1, 2019. Paper bags will go up from 15 cents to 25 cents and reusable bags will go from $1 to $2.
The first major Canadian city to ban plastic shopping bags was Montreal. The ban came into effect on Jan. 1.