Plastics bylaws approved; expanded EPR under consideration

The Province is moving to approve bylaws banning single-use plastics for Richmond, Victoria, Saanich, Tofino and Ucluelet, which would allow those communities to implement their bans. The Province will also consider other bylaws as they are submitted. 

Under the Community Charter, the Province is proposing to draft a new to allow local governments to ban single-use plastics, such as shopping bags, plastic straws and polystyrene foam take-out containers, without requiring provincial approval. It is also expanding the number of single-use products to be recycled through industry-funded residential recycling programs, including plastic cutlery, sandwich bags, stir sticks and other items. 

The Province is also exploring adding recycling programs for materials such as mattresses, electric-vehicle batteries, propane canisters and more. It will also look to improve recycling of packaging in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector. A policy intentions paper has been posted describing the proposed changes.

Working with Encorp Pacific, the Province is also introducing a minimum 10-cent deposit on all beverage containers. Also, for the first time, milk and milk-alternative containers are scheduled to be added to the deposit and refund system. 

Through numerous UBCM resolutions, local governments have called for the expansion of existing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs and the development of new ones which address the changes proposed by the Province. UBCM has engaged the Province on many of the proposed changes designed to strengthen the EPR framework in BC. 

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