(File photo)

The BC government is launching a survey to collect the public’s opinion on a possible single-use plastic bag ban and expansion of recycling practices across the province.

The province is proposing action in four areas of plastic pollution reduction, which are listed below:

  1. A ban on all single-use packaging, except for in necessary areas like health, safety, and accessibility.
  2. Reducing the number of single-use plastics in landfills and waters, largely by requiring producers to be responsible for recycling single-use items like sandwich bags, straws, cutlery, etc.
  3. Expanding provincial recycling capabilities so that the deposit-refund system can accommodate more products, like milk containers, with a 10-cent refundable deposit for the items
  4. Reducing plastic waste overall by financially supporting alternative materials and ensuring that plastics aren’t placed into garbage containers that are sent to landfills.

“The message from British Columbians is loud and clear – we need to take action to reduce plastic waste, especially single-use items like water bottles and plastic bags that often find their way into our waters, streets and environment,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in a statement.

The announcement of the survey comes a little over two weeks after BC’s Court of Appeals struck down Victoria’s plastic bag ban bylaw.

See also: Victoria plastic bag ban struck down by B.C. Court of Appeals ruling

On July 10th, the appellate court overturned the city’s bylaw based on the fact that Victoria enacted their ban on the grounds of protection for the natural environment, which is a decision that requires approval from the provincial Minister of Environment.

“We will review the decision and will consider all our options. We believe it is fundamentally within the jurisdiction of cities to regulate unsustainable business practices,” said Mayor Lisa Helps, in a statement in response to the decision.

“The Court decision doesn’t undermine the soundness of the bylaw itself, it only deals with the process required for its adoption.”

Meanwhile, in the province’s survey launch today, BC’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said he looked forward to hearing about how residents felt about the future of plastic products.

“We have all seen the striking images of animals and fish being caught up in everyday plastic waste like grocery bags or beer can loops that ensnare these beautiful creatures and it cannot continue.”

“I look forward to hearing from people about how we can all play a part in reducing plastic pollution and plastics use overall.”

Meanwhile, in June 2019, the Canadian government announced that it will be banning all single-use plastics nationwide as early as 2021.

The ban is to be implemented under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and will include all single-use plastic products and packaging including shopping bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks.

The province’s survey can be found online here and will be open until September 18th, 2019.

See also: Canadian government to ban all single-use plastics by 2021

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