British Columbia

City of Richmond's ban on single-use plastics comes into effect

Richmond's mayor says the ban will eliminate 35 million pieces of the banned items annually from disposal

Differing rules between municipalities can lead to confusion, says business advocate

Richmond, B.C.'s ban on single-use plastic bags came into effect Sunday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

A ban on single-use plastics goes into effect in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday. The ban also covers foam take-out food containers.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie said reducing single-use plastic items, such as bags and straws, is key to the city's goals, adding that the bylaw, which was adopted in September, will eliminate 35 million pieces of the banned items annually from disposal.

"We can all make a difference by choosing reusable options and supporting our local businesses as they transition to acceptable alternatives," he said. 

Last summer, the B.C. government amended a regulation under the community charter to allow local governments to ban single-use plastics without provincial approval.

Greg Wilson, the Retail Council of Canada's director of government relations in B.C., said Richmond's bylaw differs from measures in 10 other B.C. municipalities, including Vancouver, because it does not require businesses to charge a fee for paper or reusable bags.

Wilson says making fees optional leads to fewer negative impacts to businesses in Richmond, but did say differing rules between municipalities can be confusing for businesses and consumers. 

"It would be far easier for business to comply and for consumers to understand if there was one provincewide regulation," he said. 

The federal government announced last December that draft regulations prohibiting certain single-use plastics have been published for public comment.

– With files from David Ball and The Canadian Press


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