Single Use Plastic Bans: Every year in BC, billions of single-use plastic items end up as ocean debris or landfill while oth-ers are used only once and then tossed in the recycling bin. Ending our consumption of single-use plastic is an easy step towards reducing needless waste that is harmful to animals, humans and the planet as a whole. With federal and provincial bans on the horizon some common single-use plastic items will no longer be available.
Some municipalities, like the City of Vancouver have already taken the initiative to ban single use plastic items like check-out bags, straws, utensils and foam cups and containers, while many other cities have not. Provincial regulations allow individual municipalities to enact single use plastic bans of their choosing but there hasn’t been a more uniform ban of these items across the country. The Federal government, however, has now announced new regulations aimed at tack-ling the environmental challenges caused by single-use hard to recycle plastics, most of which come into effect on December 20th, 2023. For the remainder of 2023, the public and businesses will be educated about the requirements and businesses will be allowed to use up existing inven-tory. British Columbia’s also announced a new Single-Use and Plastic Waste Prevention Regula-tion which complements the federal Single-Use Plastic Prohibition Regulation, to cover similar single use plastic items across the province. These bans expand on the actions already taken by at least 21 different BC municipalities to enact their own city-wide single use plastic bans while standardizing regulations across the entire country.
Under these initiatives, the following will be banned from manufacturing and importing and pro-hibited for distribution in Canada:
Plastic check-out bags (including conventional, compostable and biodegradable plastic bags used to transport purchased items). The provincial Regulation will have minimum costs for plastic check out bag alternatives imposed at $0.25 for paper bags and $2.00 for reusable bags.
Single use plastic take-out food containers made from problematic plastics (expanded or extruded polystyrene foam (AKA Styrofoam), polyvinyl chloride, carbon black, an oxo-degradable or compostable plastic)
Single use plastic utensils including forks, knives, spoons sporks and chopsticks (contains polystyrene or polyethylene, or can’t withstand being run through a household dishwash-er 100 times
Single use plastic stir sticks
Single use plastic ring carriers (holds beverage cans together)
Single use plastic straws
Exceptions include straws packed with beverages and straws for people with disabilities which will be available on request
Disposable food service accessories such as cutlery, stir sticks, straws, sachets, condiment packets, napkins, wet wipes, beverage cup lids, and cup sleeves will be available only by request.
Self-service stations will be permitted. Research has shown that when people have the option to take what they need they use considerably less than when given the same items.
As a result of these coming bans, many businesses will need to find alternatives to single use. One option is choosing reusable dine in and take out dishes and cutlery. Reusable dishware refers to washable food service containers and cutlery, and while the initial investment in these can cost more, they eventually represent a cost savings over disposables. When taking into account the cost of the initial purchasing and dish washing, small businesses participating in such a program can save between $3,000 to 22,000 per year.
Companies like Reusables and Shareables have cropped up to offer a reusable, washable to-go dish service to businesses who sign on as members. Customers use a free app and sign out dishware using QR codes. The service is free for customers if they return the containers lightly rinsed within a given period of time, usually 2 weeks or less.
Another plus for alternatives to single use dishware is that they emit approximately 85% fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The switch from disposables to reusables means less contact between our food and plastic and less microplastics in our natural environments – both of which mean safer food and a healthier planet.
In BC, enforcement of these new regulations will be complaint driven. If a business somehow continues to use outlawed single-use plastic foodware, they can be reported to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Strategy complaint phone line.
We could do with a lot less plastic in the world and in fact, we used to – within the living memory of some of our elders there is the recollection of a plastic free planet. Many uses of plastic are unnecessary, especially when gentler alternatives exist. While recycling plastic is a stop gap measure, it’s more impactful to stop the production of plastics and these regulations are a step in the right direction.
Island Trash Removal: On the second Wednesday of the month, September 13, from 10 am until the barge is full - at the False Bay barge ramp. Any changes due to weather will be posted on the email list, FB Lasqueti Hotwire, and the Lasqueti website. No construction materials, renovation or demolition waste, prohibited waste, organics, recyclable material or stewardship materials. $7.50 per bag. $37.50 for a truckload. Mattresses and boxsprings $15 each. Please call Mark is you have any questions about what constitutes acceptable garbage.
Recycling Depot: Fall/Winter Hours Apr 1st-Sep 30th
Mon 10 am – 5 pm, Thursdays 10 am - 5 pm
Closed on Statutory Holidays. All recycling is monitored. Please bring it CLEAN and DRY.
Free Store: Fall/Winter Hours Apr 1st-Sep 30th
Monday 10 am – 2 pm and Thursday 1 - 5 pm
Please respect the signs. Drop donations during open hours so they can be quarantined. Outstanding items only, i.e. clean, usable clothing and household items. Please, NO food, garbage, recycling, TV’s, soft foam, batteries, electrical devices, mattresses or hazardous materials, ie: chemicals, fluorescent light tubes, prescription/non-prescription drugs, or pills in general. There are recycling programs on Vancouver Island for many of these materials.
Recycle BC Website: www.recyclebc.ca/what-can-i-recycle
Return-It Beverage Depot open 24/7 Front left of Free Store. Open 24/7.
Front left of the Free Store. No refundable glass (beer, wine, hard liquor) bottles, please take these to the nearest Return-It Beverage depot yourself. Yes to aluminum beer, cider, pop cans, coconut water cans, boxed wine cartons (leave them intact) and tetra juice packs, including (rinsed) milk and milk substitute containers. Please leave the caps on and push the straws in and do not crush containers. Labels can be left on.