Esquimalt adopts checkout bag bylaw to reduce single-use plastic bags

Esquimalt adopts checkout bag bylaw to reduce single-use plastic bags

Esquimalt has joined multiple other municipalities around British Columbia and adopted a new checkout bag bylaw that will come into effect this summer.

The decision to adopt the new bag bylaw was made at a council meeting on June 14 and it will come into effect on August 16, 2021.

The bag bylaw requires businesses to no longer distribute free checkout bags to customers and single-use plastic bags will be removed from circulation. Businesses will be allowed to offer paper or reusable bags to customers, as long as the customers are charged a fee for the bag.

“We’re excited to join other municipalities in this important initiative,” said Mayor Barbara Desjardins. “Reducing single-use plastic bags in the region help all of us move forward in our sustainability goals.”

According to the Township of Esquimalt, municipal staff will be working with retailers to “ensure they are supported with signage and answers to common questions.”

In addition, Esquimalt will be running a public education campaign to help familiarize shoppers with the process.

The bylaw contains a number of exemptions for certain items for which a reusable bag would be unworkable or a health concern (e.g., small loose items, meat and seafood, and large bulky items.).

Details about the bylaw and implementation can be found at


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