General Q and A

Why is reducing the amount of single-use checkout bags important?  

  • The purpose of the bylaw is to regulate the use of single-use checkout bags by businesses. These regulations will reduce plastic bag litter and waste in our community and our landfill. 

  • Victoria residents use approximately 200 bags each every year, which equates to 17 million plastic bags. 

  • Reducing waste can lead to lower City operating costs and increased service levels that enhance the quality of life and experience for all Victoria residents and visitors.

Can residents continue to use plastic bags that they already have after the bylaw comes in effect on July 1st?
The bylaw regulates business practices and states that new single-use plastic bags cannot be distributed to customers after July 1.  Residents can continue to reuse their existing plastic bags.

Where can plastic bags be recycled? 
Existing plastic bags can be taken to depots around the city and to many grocery stores and retail outlets to have these bags recycled responsibly.  The CRD keeps an up to date list of depots here. The Recycling Council of British Columbia is also a good resource for finding out where to recycle specific materials.

I use a plastic bag to line my waste bins. Does this bylaw mean I cannot use plastic bags to collect my garbage anymore? 
Plastic bin-liners and garbage bags can still be purchased in bulk at retail outlets. In many circumstances, dry residential landfill garbage does not require a plastic bin bag, but can be disposed directly into the residential Grey Bins. The City encourages residents to separate kitchen scraps, and recyclables from landfill waste. Bin liners are only required for certain waste types to minimize health concerns, dust or debris during pickup and transport, and can be made from other repurposed plastic packaging or purchased bags.

I use plastic bags to pick up my pet’s waste. What will I use instead? 
Use the same dog bags that are available in dispensers or pet stores across the region. The City is working on a longer term solution for minimizing the pet waste at the landfill.

Can reusable bags be recycled at the end of their intended service life? 
Some reusable bags can be recycled while others cannot be recycled. The City is working with regional, provincial and business stakeholders to identify the preferred recycling options and to define a sustainable reusable bag specifications for retailers to consider. The Pacific Mobile Depots accept reusable bags.

Is the City of Victoria planning to ban other single-use items, such as foam containers and drinking straws?
There are no current plans for any regulatory action on single-use materials, beyond plastic bags. City staff are currently developing a comprehensive solid waste management strategy for completion in 2019. This strategy will include a section on how to best manage single-use items. Stakeholder engagement on the specific issues will begin in 2018.