Esquimalt, BC—Esquimalt is taking another step towards establishing a checkout bag bylaw that aims to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags in the municipality. The Township is reaching out to the public for feedback on the best way to implement the changes laid out in the Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw which is expected to be adopted this summer.
As part of that engagement strategy, staff are seeking input from residents and businesses on what an implementation plan should look like.
“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,” said Mayor Barb Desjardins. “We’ve aligned this bylaw with the regulations in Victoria and Saanich to give residents and businesses consistency from municipality to municipality.”
Residents and businesses are invited to take a short survey that will provide useful feedback to staff on how best to educate the public and inform businesses as well as how best to time the phase out of single-use plastic bags.
The proposed Bylaw requires that businesses no longer distribute free checkout bags to customers unless the bag is paper or reusable and the customer is charged for the bag. The purpose of the bag fees 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.
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.)
The survey as well as background information can be found at Esquimalt.ca/bags.