City sits tight (for now) on banning of single-use plastics

·3 min read

The city won’t be jumping on board the banning of single-use plastics train any time soon, despite communities across the province already banning them ahead of provincial and federal government legislation.

A city official confirmed that Nelson is waiting for the federal government to pass Canada-wide legislation that would ban single-use plastic later this year.

This comes on the heels of the province’s intention to move toward regulating more single-use and plastic products, with British Columbians invited to comment on a proposed regulation and further actions, and ban specific products that can damage habitat, waterways and the species that rely on a healthy environment.

- To learn more about the proposed single-use and plastic waste prevention regulation and to provide input, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/plastics

“The proposed changes address the most problematic single-use items in British Columbia and help move B.C. to a circular economy approach, where zero waste is produced,” noted a release from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

“The proposed regulation would be phased in to provide the time needed for education and for businesses to use existing inventory.”

This year’s provincial budget could invest an additional $10 million in the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund to support more B.C.-based innovations to reduce the use of plastic and make better use of recycled plastic.

The province launched the CleanBC Action Plan in 2019. Since that time, local governments throughout the province have taken steps to get plastic pollution out of their communities and green spaces.

Moving quickly

Municipalities throughout the province can now move more quickly to prevent plastics from polluting their communities.

Under new rules, local governments can institute bans on plastic bags and certain single-use plastics without provincial approval.

More than 20 municipalities in B.C. are developing bylaws banning single-use plastics. Under the previous regulation, bylaws were approved for the municipalities of Esquimalt, Nanaimo, Richmond, Rossland, Saanich, Surrey, Tofino, Ucluelet and Victoria.

The province has amended a regulation under the Community Charter to allow local governments to ban single-use plastics, including plastic checkout bags, polystyrene foam containers and plastic utensils, which includes stir sticks.

Previously, municipalities required ministerial approval to implement a plastics ban.

The province is also expanding the number of products to be recycled through residential recycling programs by adding milk and milk-alternative containers to the deposit-refund system, and more single-use items to the packaging part of the recycling regulation effective January 2023.

It is also piloting new projects to use reclaimed plastic waste in new manufacturing through the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund.

Facts

- Since last year, more than 127 tonnes of plastic have been removed from B.C.’s coastline under the Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative.

- It is estimated that in 2019, more than 340,000 tonnes of plastic items and packaging were disposed of in British Columbia. This equates to more than 65 kilograms of plastic waste landfilled per person in one year.

Source: Province of B.C.

Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily

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