A shopper leaves a store carrying his groceries in plastic bags. Photo: Canadian Press

Rossland adopts plastic bag ban

According to the bylaw, businesses can charge 25 cents for a paper bag and $2 for a reusable bag

The Rossland checkout bag regulation, bylaw 2723, came to a satisfying conclusion at Rossland council earlier this month.

Council already had a third reading of the proposed bylaw, but needed approval from the Minister of Environment before adoption.

That approval was received in a February letter from Minister George Heyman.

“Our government strongly supports municipal leadership to address single-use plastics and is committed to ensuring that regulation of single-use plastics in B.C. is consistent across communities,” said Heyman. “As announced in September 2020, the province is taking steps to address these important issues, including proposed regulatory changes to support municipal bylaws that meet certain parameters for accessibility, public health, and reduction of waste from alternative materials.”

The effort to ban plastic bags in Rossland began some 14 years ago, and it was serendipitous that the person who initiated the ban was in Rossland for the motion.

There was little discussion among council on adoption of the plastic bag bylaw.

“It’s about time,” commented Rossland councillor Chris Bowman.

The bylaw regulation stipulates that businesses must ask a shopper if they require a bag, and then charge a fee for a paper or reusable bag. According to the bylaw, businesses can charge a minimum 25 cents for a paper bag and $2 for a reusable bag.

Mayor Kathy Moore said they can’t force businesses to follow the bylaw given the rules under COVID protocols, however, she noted that many stores have already adopted the practice of foregoing plastic bags.

Rossland city council adopted the original single-checkout bag regulation bylaw in July of 2019, however, it wasn’t intended to be enforced until early 2020.

Enforcement of the bylaw was hampered by the COVID-19 crisis, which forced many businesses to ban reusable bags and temporarily use plastic bags for health precautions.

Trail Daily Times