Reducing Single-Use Plastic Bags
he City of Salmon Arm is reminding the public and businesses that single-use plastic bags are to be phased out as we inch closer to the Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw coming into effect July 1, 2022.
The purpose of the bylaw is to regulate the use of single-use checkout bags by residents and businesses in an effort to reduce litter and waste in our community and our landfill.
- Pending Council adoption, the Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw will regulate business practices and states that new single-use plastic bags cannot be distributed to customers after June 30, 2022. Residents can continue to reuse their existing plastic bags.
- Consumers must be asked if they require a bag and if so provided a paper bag or reusable bag at a fee. The minimum fees proposed in the bylaw are 25 cents per paper bag and $2 per reusable bag.
- The bylaw provides exemptions for many items where a reusable bag would not be suitable; including the packaging of bulk items, frozen food, meats and poultry, flowers, large items that require protection and cannot fit in a reusable bag, etc. Further exemptions may be considered in the future.
- The Bylaw defines a reusable bag as a "bag with handles that is for the purpose of transporting items purchased by the customer from a business and is:
- designed and manufactured to be capable of at least 100 uses, and
- primarily made of cloth or other washable fabric"
How we got here:
On June 10, 2019, Salmon Arm Council officially adopted the Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw, No. 4297, which:
- came into effect July 1, 2019;
- prohibits a business from selling or providing a customer with a plastic checkout bag;
- prohibits a business from providing a customer with a reusable or paper checkout bag free of charge;
- requires a business to charge a minimum of .15 cents for a paper checkout bag and $1.00 for a reusable bag until December 31, 2019, and .25 cents and $2.00 thereafter;
- requires that a paper checkout bag must be made out of paper and contain at least 40% of post-consumer recycled paper content and must also display the words “Recyclable” and “made from 40% post-consumer recycled content” (or other applicable amount) on the outside of the bag;
- contains exemptions to the plastic bag prohibition for specific types of goods (such as packaging or wrap for fruit, vegetables and meat); and
- provides that fines will not be issued for non-compliance until July 1, 2019.
- The BC Court of Appeal quashed the City of Victoria’s Single Use Plastics Bylaw ruling that municipalities must receive approval from the Minister of Environment prior to adoption of such a bylaw.
- Given this decision, Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw No. 4297 unenforceable.
- The Province amended the Community Charter to allow local governments to ban single-use plastics, including plastic checkout bags, without approval of the Ministry.
- Council directed staff to bring new Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw 4478 for Council’s consideration.
- The new Bylaw is effectively the same as the old one.
Important note COVID-19: Under BC Centre for Disease Control External website, opens in new tab guidelines, vendors can accept customers' reusable shopping bags during the COVID-19 pandemic.
City of Salmon Arm
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