Reducing Single-Use Plastic Bags

On January 7, 2019, Saanich Council gave first two readings to the Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw, No. 9537, 2019, which:
  • prohibits a business from selling or providing a customer with a plastic checkout bag;
  • prohibits a business from providing a customer with a reusable or paper checkout bag free of charge (unless it has already been used and returned to the store for reuse);
  • requires a business to charge a minimum of .15 cents for a paper checkout bag and $1.00 for a reusable bag during a six-month transitional period and .25 cents and $2.00 thereafter;
  • requires that a paper checkout bag must be made out of paper and contain at least 40% of post-consumer recycled paper content and must also display the words “Recyclable” and “made from 40% post-consumer recycled content” (or other applicable amount) on the outside of the bag;
  • contains exemptions to the plastic bag prohibition for specific types of goods (such as packaging or wrap for fruit, vegetables and meat);
  • comes into effect January 1, 2020; and
  • provides that fines will not be issued for non-compliance until July 1, 2020.

Council endorsed a work plan which will see the Bylaw come back to Council for third reading and adoption in May and June 2019. The Bylaw was amended at second reading to eliminate a six-month transition period after it comes into effect (January 2020) to allow businesses to continue to distribute remaining plastic bag stock.

For regulatory consistency for both residents and businesses, the Bylaw mirrors the bylaw passed by the City of Victoria in January of 2018. More information about the City’s process can be found on its website.

Questions

Our frequently asked questions documents address many common inquiries:

Feedback

If you are a resident or a business owner/operator and would like to provide feedback on the bylaw, please send it to brent.reems@saanich.ca.