District to enforce plastic bag ban in Squamish starting August 15

Squamish District Council has amended the Single Use Items Reduction By-law which will ban the use of plastic bags in Squamish. The rule changes will also regulate additional single-use items, including plastic straws, plastic take-out utensils and foam take-out containers.

Single-use plastic straws will be made available to those who need them for health, medical or disability reasons. A collapsible plastic straw must be provided by the company in this case at the request of any customer.

“Reducing the use of plastics in our recycling and waste streams will bring major environmental benefits to our community in the form of reduced waste, less ocean plastic and less contamination in our recycling streams,” said Mayor Karen Elliott.

“Many businesses have already encouraged the use of reusable items and updating this regulation will bring us closer to our goal of zero waste by 2040 and the changes planned to come in 2023 by the provincial and federal governments on the single-use items. This regulation aims to inspire behavioral changes in all citizens. Many of us will find it difficult for a while, but the new habits we form will have lasting environmental benefits.

Under the updated rules, the following items cannot be distributed or sold at checkout:

Plastic checkout bags

plastic utensils

plastic straws

Styrofoam take-out containers

plastic sticks

Exemptions from the regulations include providing plastic or paper bags to wrap items such as bulk and hardware items, frozen foods like meat, and prescription drugs.

For a complete list of exemptions, visit squamish.ca/reduce-single-use.

Bryce K. Locke