The District of Saanich said it will ban single-use plastic bags at the checkout counter next year in an effort to become more sustainable and reduce waste.

On Tuesday, the council announced it had officially adopted a checkout bag regulation bylaw that will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. According to the council, businesses will still be able to provide paper bags for 15 cents. Fines will be issued for non-compliance starting in June 2020.

“Saanich has declared a climate emergency and this is a small but important step toward becoming more sustainable, reducing waste and respecting our natural environment,” Saanich Councillor and Acting Mayor Colin Plant said in a statement.

“Saanich has been a beautiful community for generations and we want to ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect our environment for the future and reduce the negative impact that discarded plastic bags have on municipal facilities and services. There are so many creative options for people to adopt that don’t require a single-use bag. This is one of the ways we’re walking the talk.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will ban single-use plastics, which could include bags, straws and cutlery, starting in 2021.

Victoria banned single-use plastic bags on July 1, 2018, and on June 8, 2019, a single-use plastic ban took effect in Tofino and Ucluelet. Tofino and Ucluelet’s ban includes straws while Victoria’s does not.

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