Salmon Arm’s plastic bag ban may remain on the back burner until 2022.
The city’s bylaw banning single-use plastic shopping bags has been in place since July 1 – just over two years. However, residents had less than a year to transition to reusable bags before health and safety concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the city to let retailers return to plastic.
Though reusable cloth bags are once again permitted at Salmon Arm stores, plastic bags remain an option too.
Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison said he plans on bringing the bylaw back to council for discussion in the fall. He said his goal is a Jan. 1, 2022 restart for the bylaw, with enforcement beginning July 1. Harrison wants to make sure everyone has ample time to prepare and readjust, including giving retailers time to use up accumulated stock.
Harrison noted that last year the B.C. government announced it would give municipalities authority to institute bylaws banning single-use plastics, and that cities may now do so without requiring approval from the province.
“This autonomy is one we have been seeking, and is good news from my perspective,” said Harrison, adding his plan for the bylaw’s return in Salmon Arm is contingent on the pandemic restart plan continuing to move forward. “Of course, we would ensure any restart of this process meets any potential new orders from the PHO (Provincial Health Officer).
Single-use plastic shopping bags are recyclable, and are accepted at the recycling depots at the city’s Columbia Shuswap Regional District landfill and at Bill’s Bottle Depot.
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