The City of Victoria has announced that a previous bylaw, which restricted the use of plastic bags within the community, is now back in effect.
The City announced on Thursday that the Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw, which was temporarily lifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has now been reinstated as of April 15.
With the bylaw now back in effect, all businesses will now be restricted in using plastic checkout bags and will be required to charge a fee for paper bags.
“Reducing the distribution of single-use plastic items in Victoria is helping to keep plastic waste out of our landfill, save tax dollars and protect the environment,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “Most businesses have continued to encourage the use of reusable bags. Resuming the Checkout Bag Bylaw is a simple step to maintain our forward momentum towards reaching our goal to reduce waste by 50 per cent by 2040 and be fully zero waste by 2050.”
The City says that prior to the pandemic, there was “excellent compliance” of the bylaw by businesses and there will be a continued focus from the municipal government on offering supporting through education and awareness.
“The Chamber worked closely with the City to ensure the bylaw reflected the work already being done by businesses to reduce waste and look after customer requests,” Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Williams said. “The public asked for this change and businesses responded. Victoria is to be commended for shaping the bylaw to ensure adoption by businesses, and for using a model that allows for seamless adoption of these regulations across our region.”
When COVID-19 hit Vancouver Island, the City opted to suspend the bylaw as reusable bags have been shown to be safe.
The bylaw was initially put into effect back in 2018 and marked the first of its kind in the province.
The bylaw has since been replicated by over 20 other municipalities across Canada, including Saanich, Esquimalt and Nanaimo.
Learn more about Zero Waste Victoria at victoria.ca/zerowaste.