Residents and businesses in Esquimalt have the option to fill out a survey as the community looks for the best ways to phase out single-use plastic bags.
The Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw, given first reading by Esquimalt’s mayor and council in January, comes into effect Jan. 1, 2020 and would ban businesses from selling or providing plastic checkout bags, and instead charge for a paper or reusable bags.
A paper checkout bag would also be required to be made from at least 40 per cent post-consumer recycled material and display “recyclable” and “made from 40% post-consumer recycled content”, or other amounts, on the outside of the bag.
Officials say the purpose of the fee is to “prevent the unintended consequence of having customers switch to wholesale use of paper bags, which also have a large environmental footprint, or to having reusable bags become a disposable item.”
Public input is the next step in Esquimalt’s plan to reduce plastic and single-use bags.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said in a statement the Township is aligning the bylaw to be consistent with regulations in Victoria and Saanich.
“We want to balance the need to reduce plastic and single-use bags in our environment with the ability for businesses to serve their customers efficiently,” Desjardins said in a release.
There are exemptions for the bylaw for items that a reusable bag would not be workable or a health concern, such as small loose items, meat and seafood and large bulky items.
The bylaw will be back before Council in summer for second and third reading and adoption.