The province has made it easier for B.C. communities to implement bans on plastic bags and other single-use plastics.
In a statement Tuesday (July 27), Environment Minister George Heyman announced local governments will no longer have to get provincial approval to implement a ban, after amendments to regulations under the Community Charter.
More than 20 municipalities in B.C. are developing bylaws banning single-use plastics, according to the ministry. Under the previous regulation, bylaws were approved for Esquimalt, Nanaimo, Richmond, Rossland, Saanich, Surrey, Tofino, Ucluelet and Victoria.
Since last year, more than 127 tonnes of plastic have been removed from B.C.’s coastline. It is estimated that in 2019, more than 340,000 tonnes of plastic items and packaging were disposed of across the province – or roughly 65 kilograms of plastic waste landfilled per person in one year.
Ocean Wise director of plastics, Laura Hardman, said the change will support the systemic change needed to stop plastic pollution, which she called “a threat to our health, the economy and marine life – from zooplankton to beluga whales.”
This change is one part of the province’s CleanBC plan on plastics. The Horgan government is also expanding the number of products to be recycled through residential recycling programs by adding milk and milk-alternative containers to the deposit-refund system, effective February 2022, and more single-use items to the packaging part of recycling programs, effective January 2023.
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