What’s Proposed in the Draft Bylaw

  1. Under the terms of the draft Bylaw, will businesses be able to provide customers with plastic checkout bags?

    The draft Bylaw states that businesses are not allowed to sell or provide customers with a plastic bag nor can they provide a single-use, plastic checkout bag to a customer free of charge.

  2. Are there exceptions to this regulation that allow some single-use plastic bags to be permitted?

    The draft Bylaw includes a list of exceptions. Single-use plastic bags can be provided for:

    • Loose bulk items (fruits, vegetables, nuts, bulk confectionery, prepared foods, meat, fish, baked goods, frozen food wraps, etc.) to the checkout for hygiene protection from direct contact with other items
    • Wrap flowers or potted plants
    • Plastic bag for prescription drugs received from a pharmacy
    • Plastic bag to protect newspapers or other printed material intended to be left at a customer's residence or place of business
    • ­­­­­­Protect clothes after professional laundering or dry cleaning
  3. What important bag design and performance information is specified in the draft Bylaw?

    • A “plastic bag” is restricted by this regulation, and is defined as a bag made with plastic, including biodegradable plastic or compostable plastic.
    • Paper bags must contain at least 40% post-consumer recycled paper content.
    • A “reusable bag” is defined as a bag with handles specifically designed for a minimum of 125 uses and made of machine washable fabric.
  4. What types of checkout bags are permitted under the draft Bylaw?

    • The customer is first asked whether they need a bag
    • The business provides a paper or reusable bag at a cost
  5. What are the minimum bag fees set by the bylaw?

    • A fee no less than 12 cents per paper bag (rising to 25 cents after one year); and
    • A minimum cost of two dollars per reusable bag
    • It is up to the business owner’s discretion if they choose to charge more than the set minimum amount
  6. How did the City determine the fees for bags?

    • Fees were set to reflect the actual cost of producing a paper bag and reusable bag
    • Fees are a proven mechanism to promote sustainable business and consumer habits, while avoiding overuse of any bag type. 
  7. How will the funds collected from the bag fees be used?

    • The fee will be charged and collected by individual businesses.
    • The City is encouraging businesses to allocate any fees collected towards improved sustainable packaging and programs to reduce single-use waste, including education and awareness activities.
  8. When is the draft Bylaw proposed to take effect?

    The proposed regulation would come into effect no earlier than July 1st, 2018. 

  9. What should a business do with their existing stock of plastic bags?

    Businesses are encouraged to use up their stocks of bags prior to July 1st, 2018.  This phase-in period is being planned to give businesses time to transition to the new regulations proposed by the draft Bylaw.

  10. Will businesses be permitted to sell plastic bags sold in packages?

    Yes. The draft Bylaw does not restrict the sale of bags intended for use at the customer’s home or business (garbage bin liners, sandwich bags, compost liners, etc.).

  11. How will the bylaw be enforced?

    Education and awareness is the first step when introducing a new program.  An enforcement plan is being developed by City staff.

    The draft Bylaw proposes a schedule of offences and sets fines consistent with other City bylaws (a range of minimum $100.00 to a maximum of $10,000, depending on the nature and frequency of the offence).

  12. Can a customer be fined?

    No. This draft Bylaw regulates businesses that provide single-use checkout bags.

  13. Can the public or business still provide feedback on the draft bylaw?

    Yes.  Anyone can share their feedback on the draft Bylaw with Council via email to engage@victoria.ca until Nov. 30, 2017.

    City staff will share the feedback received and any recommended changes to the Bylaw with Council in December 2017.