Calgary city council OK's single-use plastics bylaw

Calgary's city council voted in favour of a bylaw on Tuesday that aims to cut down the amount of single-use plastics ending up in the city's landfills.  (The Canadian Press - image credit)
Calgary's city council voted in favour of a bylaw on Tuesday that aims to cut down the amount of single-use plastics ending up in the city's landfills. (The Canadian Press - image credit)

City council has passed a bylaw aimed at limiting some single-use items that often end up in landfills.

Starting next year, businesses will have to collect a fee from customers for any single-use or reusable bags.

Council voted 10-4 Tuesday night in favour of the bylaw, which is similar to rules already in place elsewhere.

Coun. Kourtney Penner said several other Canadian cities have already brought in similar bylaws.

"The more touchpoints that we all have as consumers and thinking about our habits and thinking about what we intake into our own homes, the more conscientious we're going to be overall," Penner said.

"So having something we're all equally participating [in] gives us all … a better fighting chance of reducing our waste."

Starting next January, the city will require businesses to charge 15 cents for every single-use bag they give out or a dollar for each reusable bag.

The money collected will stay with the business.

City administration says consumers can avoid paying the fees by getting into the habit of bringing their own bags.

The bylaw will also require businesses to refrain from giving out foodware such as straws, napkins, stir sticks and other items unless a customer specifically asks for them.

The city says it will undertake a public education campaign and work with local businesses to ensure fines are issued only as a last resort.