Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Oak Bay will phase out single-use plastic bags starting this fall


Oak Bay is joining over thirty municipalities across the province taking action to reduce the impacts of single-use plastic waste in their local community.

In a newly adopted bylaw that comes into effect this fall, businesses will be prevented from offering single-use plastic bags at the point of purchase and require businesses to charge a minimum fee for paper and reusable bags. 

The bylaw will come into effect on November 24th, giving Oak Bay residents and businesses time to adjust and prepare for the change. 

However, residents are encouraged to make the switch to reusable bags now, and some businesses have already begun to proactively eliminate single-use plastic bags. 

“These changes will help reduce plastic waste in our community and our landfills,” said Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch.

 “They will also improve regulatory consistency within the region, essentially mirroring similar bylaws in place in Victoria, Saanich, and Esquimalt.”

When the bylaw comes into effect plastic checkout bags will no longer be available at Oak Bay businesses. 

In addition, there will be a minimum fee charge for paper and reusable checkout bags helping businesses recover the cost of more expensive paper and reusable bags. 

For a 1-year period following the introduction of the bylaw, fees will include $0.15 for each paper bag and $1 for each reusable bag. 

After that, the minimum fee will be $0.25 for paper bags and $2 for reusable bags.

Fees will not apply to small paper bags, such as those commonly used by pharmacies to package prescription drugs as well as several other exemptions, including bags used for packaging loose bulk items, small hardware items, select food products and flowers.

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