Revelstoke City Council is considering banning single-use plastic bags.
Since the proposal passed its first reading, there will be public engagement before the bylaw is finalized.
At the moment, the bylaw proposes banning plastic bags and requiring businesses charge a minimum of $0.15 for each paper bag and $1 for each reusable bags, increasing to $0.25 and $2 after a six month transition period. Exemptions to the ban include bags for bulk items, wrapping for flowers or plants and protection for prepared food or baked goods.
The proposal requires paper bags be at least 40 per cent recycled content and reusable bags must be capable of at least 100 reuses.
The proposal includes a six month transition period, allowing businesses to use their existing plastic bag stock and source reusable bag options before the bylaw comes into full force.
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).
A survey was done to measure public support however, when a similar bylaw in Victoria was overturned by the BC Court of Appeal in the summer of 2019, progress on the bylaw halted.
At the time, the court of appeal ruled the ban on single-use plastics should be considered an environmental regulation rather than a business regulation, which is the provincial government’s responsibility. If passed, the new bylaw in Revelstoke would need approval from the minister of environment before adoption.
Since then, the minister has approved bylaws banning single-use plastic bags in nine communities in B.C., three of which included banning plastic straws, foam and service ware on top of plastic bags.
In October of 2020, the federal government also announced new restrictions on plastics that will see plastic straws, stir sticks, carry-out bags, cutlery, dishes and takeout containers and six-pack rings for cans and bottles, banned by the end of 2021.
The staff report on the topic, presented at the April 27, 2021 council meeting, outlined a general timeline of engagement process, including educating and collecting feedback from the community about the proposed bylaw between May and July before coming back to council in August or September for amendments, a public hearing and final readings.
If approved by council, the bylaw would then need to be approved by the provincial minister of environment before adoption.