Rossland may soon be banning businesses from distributing plastic bags — (File photo)

Rossland may soon be banning businesses from distributing plastic bags — (File photo)

Rossland to ban plastic bags?

Mayor Kathy Moore says Victoria court ruling clears path for city’s own ban

Rossland’s mayor says she wants to move quickly to implement a ban on plastic bags in the community.

Kathy Moore says a recent court victory by the City of Victoria clears the path for Rossland to implement its own ban.

“I sent the mayor a congratulatory note and I said I want Rossland to go next,” says Moore. “I have a copy of their bylaw and their backup material for it, which I am circulating to council and I am hoping shortly to direct staff to prepare their own bylaw and ban plastics.”

Earlier this month the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the City of Victoria had the right to ban merchants from using plastic bags. A bylaw drawn up by the city had been challenged by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association. The courts, however, sided with the city.

“I’ve told council ‘OK we got the green light, let’s go for it’,” says Moore of the court ruling.

Moore says she’s been interested in a plastic bag ban for years, and was involved in a group called Greener Footprint in Rossland before she ran for council.

She said the group was effective in getting people to change their habits and use more eco-friendly bags, but the council at the time didn’t follow up with legislative support.

“Council of the day said ‘we don’t have to legislate anything because we’ve changed social behaviour’, end of story,” she recalls. “Well, fast forward a few years, people have forgotten, and there’s no more enthusiasm.”

Moore says says it’s “demoralizing” to see people automatically go for plastic bags at the grocery store and other shops these days.

“Bad habits creep back in, because that’s what’s easy,” she says.

Moore thinks a bylaw will be well supported, and several groups have presented to council on the need to ban plastic bags.

The mayor and council voted Monday night to direct staff to draft a bylaw based on the Victoria model.

On July 1, businesses in the provincial capital will no longer be permitted to provide their customers with single-use plastic bags, as part of the a new Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw.

The bylaw states that large paper or reusable bags can be sold for a minimum of 15 cents for paper, and $1 for reusable bags, with sales going towards each businesses’ bag budget.

Some Victoria merchants are wondering how they’ll cope with the new rules, which have exemptions that will allow plastic bags for such things as bulk grocery items, meat wrapping and plastic sheets covering dry-cleaned clothing or home-delivered newspapers.