New regulation in British Columbia targets single-use plastic items

New regulation in British Columbia targets single-use plastic items

Sustainability

British Columbia is taking significant steps to address the issue of single-use and plastic waste through a new provincial regulation.

The Single-Use and Plastic Waste Prevention Regulation will address a range of items including shopping bags, disposable food service accessories, oxo-degradable plastics, and food service packaging made of polystyrene foam, PVC, PVDC, compostable or biodegradable plastics.

Starting in December 2023, the new requirements will be implemented gradually, allowing a six-month period for public and business awareness and the utilisation of existing inventory.

Since the launch of the CleanBC Action Plan in 2019, 21 municipalities in British Columbia have enacted bylaws to limit single-use plastics in their respective communities.

The federal government is also taking action by prohibiting the manufacturing and importing of six harmful single-use plastic items, including plastic checkout bags, drinking straws, cutlery, stir sticks, ring carriers, and food-service ware made from plastics. Sales of these items will be banned from December 20, 2023.

Province of British Columbia sets single use plastic requirements
Province sets single-use plastic requirements © Province of British Columbia (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

British Columbia's regulation goes further in curbing the use of various single-use items, encouraging the adoption of reusable alternatives, and ultimately reducing emissions, water consumption, waste, litter, and pollution associated with disposable products.

By prioritising reusables over disposables, British Columbia aims to make a positive impact on environmental sustainability.

George V. Harvie, chair, Metro Vancouver board of directors, said: The region's residents disposed of 1.3 billion single-use items in 2022, and reducing waste while maximising the reuse, recycling, and recovery of materials is a significant focus of Metro Vancouver's work. We applaud this provincial regulatory framework for single-use and plastic items, which will help us achieve reduction goals and address the challenges with compostables and hard-to-recycle plastics.

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