Plastic bag ban taking shape in Kamloops - InfoNews

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Plastic bag ban taking shape in Kamloops

Kamloops could see a plastic bag ban as soon as spring 2020.
Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
July 05, 2019 - 6:00 PM

KAMLOOPS -  Kamloops city councillors next week will get a better look at a the early stages of a bylaw banning carry-out plastic bags.

If eventually approved in its current form, the bylaw would prohibit businesses from providing or selling plastic carry-out bags and would prohibit businesses from providing a free reusable or paper bag unless it has already been used and returned to the store. Businesses would first have to ask the customer if they would like a bag, and could then sell reusable bags for a minimum of $1, and paper bags for at least $0.15.

Those fees would last for a year, during the transitional period. After that, the paper and reusable bags would see a fee increase to $0.25 and $2 respectively.

The bylaw would not include plastic bags used for carrying or wrapping fruits, vegetables, bulk items, bakery goods and meats. Also exempt would be plastic bags for carrying hardware goods such as nuts and bolts, wrapping flowers and potted plants, and transporting live fish. Dry-cleaned clothes, large bedding items, and printed items would all be allowed to use a protective plastic bag.

Plastic bags may be sold to individuals to use in their home or business given that the bags are sold in a bulk quantity.

Penalties for disobeying the bylaw would be $100 per incident for providing a prohibited bag, improper bag use, or discouraging a customer from using a reusable bag.

An online survey was open to over 950 business license owners this spring, which allowed an opportunity to discuss potential implications on business operations, which got 43 responses. Currently, 73 per cent of the businesses surveyed provide plastic carry-out bags free of charge. All businesses that responded showed support for the proposed objective, but 41 per cent of respondents noted that it may be difficult for their business to adapt. They stated phasing out plastic bags would mean higher costs, and some business owners worry that the increase in reusable bags would mean an increase in theft. Another issue facing the business owners would be meeting national brand standards for their company.

Although there was some concerned feedback,  50 per cent of respondents reacted positively to the proposed bylaw, citing waste reduction, environmental benefits and an opportunity to sell reusable bags.

Council will weigh in on the proposal, and their comments as well as more community engagement will guide staff in a revised version, which will head back to council in November.  Kamloops city council will then be presented with engagement results, amendments to the bylaw, and will create an implementation plan if the bylaw is adopted. The City of Kamloops could see a plastic bag ban as early as spring 2020.


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