Rossland city council has instructed staff to make amendments to its single-use plastic bag regulation, adopted last summer. In addition to a ban on plastic bags, the city is now looking to ban plastic straws and Styrofoam containers at local businesses.
A small fee is also being introduced for local residents who don’t bring a reusable bag for shopping. Businesses will be able to keep the profit generated from the bag fees.
Mayor Kathy Moore said the bag fees will mimic those already imposed in other communities like Tofino and Victoria. Under Tofino’s bylaw, customers are charged at least 25 cents for a paper bag and at least $2 for a reusable bag. Victoria’s bylaw makes customers pay at least 15 cents for a paper bag and at least $1 for a reusable bag.
Similar to Tofino and Victoria’s bylaw, Rossland’s bylaw would allow small plastic bags to be used for packaging bulk items like fruit and vegetables, wrapped frozen foods and hardware items like nails.
After staff work on the amendments, it will be brought back to city council for a review. Council will then send the amended bylaw to the Minister of Environment for approval and will adopt it shortly after.
All B.C. communities that want to impose a plastic bag ban have to get approval from the B.C. Minister of Environment.
While Rossland city council adopted the original single-checkout bag regulation bylaw in July of 2019, it wasn’t intended to be enforced until early 2020.
Enforcement of the bylaw has also been hampered by the COVID-19 crisis, which has forced many businesses to temporarily use plastic bags for health precautions.