North Okanagan could ban single-use plastic bags by 2020

District ultimately would like to see a provincial ban

The Regional District of North Okanagan is looking to ban single-use plastic checkout bags.

The first reading of a new bylaw is the first of multiple approvals required, but it is a step towards banning single-use checkout bags in the North Okanagan.

“Ultimately, we would like to see a provincial ban on single use plastics and we have sent a letter to the Province requesting their leadership on the regulation of single use plastics, but we are not willing to wait,” said Kevin Acton, Chair of the RDNO Board.

“We are taking immediate actions regionally while we continue to advocate for province-wide regulations which can have a wider impact.”

The bylaw will now be forwarded for legal review and to municipal jurisdictions for review and comment.

The RDNO began exploring the regulation of single-use plastics in February of 2019.

The district will first focus on regulating single-use checkout bags since they are one of the most commonly used and improperly recycled single-use plastic items. This has also been a common starting point for many jurisdictions.

A single-use checkout bag is defined by the proposed bylaw as a plastic bag that cannot withstand 100 uses.

Plastic bags marketed as “biodegradable” or “compostable” are included in this definition and will be banned.

The bylaw will not regulate plastic bags sold in packages of multiple bags, such as sandwich or garbage bags.

Depending on legal review and support from the board, the ban on single-use checkout bags could be in place by January 2020 at the earliest.

Related: Vernon paddleboarder cleaning up Kalamalka Lake

Related: Environmental group sounds alarm after 48 lbs of plastic found in dead whale

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