(Victoria Buzz)

The District of Tofino is expanding its plastics ban, adding all single-use plastic utensils to the mix and becoming the first municipality in BC to make it happen.

Polystyrene takeout containers, plastic straws and checkout bags were already banned within the district, but an amendment to a bylaw last month saw plastic spoons, forks, knives, chopsticks and stir sticks added to the list.

According to the district, enforcement of the newly banned items will start on August 22nd, giving local businesses a transition period of around six months.

Pointing to the fight against plastic pollution, Tofino Mayor Dan Law says banning plastic cutlery is a “great step forward.”

“This is one win in a larger battle, and I look forward to further initiatives to keep our local and regional communities at the forefront in the fight against plastic waste,” he said.

In the fall of 2019, Surfrider Pacific Rim launched its Cut the Cutlery campaign to eliminate plastic and bioplastic cutlery—helping further reduce single-use plastic waste in communities, landfills and marine environments.

“I am particularly thankful to Surfrider for their leadership on this critical front, and I am proud that our business community has so enthusiastically endorsed this effort,” added Law.

In fact, Surfrider Chair Amorita Adair finds communities are ready and willing to take more drastic action to curb “the plastics crisis.”

“Our vision is to make the west coast a leader in addressing plastic pollution in Canada, lighting the way for other locales to look to and follow,” said Adair.

In September, data from Surfrider found that all 60 Ocean Friendly Businesses in Tofino and Ucluelet supported the ban on plastic utensils, with 44 businesses already in compliance.

The neighbouring District of Ucluelet is also expected to amend its existing Single-Use Item Regulation Bylaw and enact a ban on single-use plastic utensils, officials say.

Last July, the BC government amended a regulation to make it easier for local governments to ban single-use plastics. Previously, municipalities required ministerial approval to implement a plastics ban.

At the time, the province found that more than 20 BC municipalities were developing bylaws banning single-use plastics, including Victoria, Esquimalt, Saanich and Nanaimo.

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