Revelstoke City Council has adopted the Single-Use Item Regulation Bylaw, banning single-use plastics in the community.
The now-adopted bylaw will be enforced in Revelstoke as of July 1.
The city defines single-use items as check-out bags, straws, utensils, and take-out containers that are intended to be used briefly before being thrown away or recycled.
Prior to enforcement, council will engage with local businesses in order to share the tools to educate customers on sustainable business practices that are consistent with the values of the community. Digital educational materials will also be shared with the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce and its members.
“It seems symbolic in a lot of ways with all the work that our country is doing right now and the fact that most of our businesses are already conforming with this,” said city councillor Nicole Cherlet. “I still think it’s important that we put these values on paper and we have something to have a discussion with customers about.”
Banning single-use plastic shopping bags has been on council’s radar since April 2018, when they requested the Environmental Advisory Committee investigate options for a ban. It was brought forward again in February 2019, at the request of the North Columbia Environmental Society (now Wildsight).
The bylaw will ban plastic bags and requires businesses to charge a minimum of $0.15 for each paper bag and $1 for each reusable bag. Exemptions to the ban include bags for bulk items, wrapping for flowers or plants and protection for prepared food or baked goods.
Revelstoke’s neighbour to the west, Salmon Arm, is also introducing a ban on single-use plastics as of July 1 in order to allow businesses to readjust and use their supply of plastic bags as well as acquiring reusable bag options.
In June 2019, Salmon Arm city council adopted a checkout bag regulation bylaw for the city. However, a month later, the BC Court of Appeal revoked the City of Victoria’s single use plastics bylaw. It ruled that municipalities must receive approval from the provincial environment ministry before adopting one.
Two years later, in July 2021, the province amended the community charter to allow local governments to ban single-use plastics without approval of the ministry, Salmon Arm city staff reported.
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