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RDNO Makes Progress in Regulating Plastic Checkout Bags

Posted Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) Board of Directors gave first reading to a bylaw which will, if adopted, regulate single-use plastic checkout bags. First reading is the first of multiple approvals required, but this is a step forward in encouraging the use of reusable bags by banning single-use checkout bags in the North Okanagan. 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 RDNO 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.

“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,” he added.

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.

Background and Resources:

• May, 9, 2019: Frequently Asked Questions
• May 8, 2019, Staff Report: Regulation of Single-Use Checkout Bags
• March 1, 2019 RDNO to Explore Regulating Single Use Plastics