Reducing Single-Use Plastic Bags

Help eliminate unnecessary single-use items from our community.  


The City of Victoria introduced the first municipal single-use item regulation in British Columbia with the adoption of its Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw in January 2018. Despite the ruling of the BC Court of Appeal that rendered the bylaw of no force and effect, Victoria businesses and residents have remained committed to minimize plastic waste in the community. 

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, businesses have found ways to encourage the use of reusable shopping bags while keeping staff and consumers safe.  

Checkout Bag Bylaw Update:  

Beginning April 15th 2021, Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw #20-205 will be enforceable. 

Following three readings, Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw #20-205 was sent to the Province for approval. The Environment Minister of British Columbia approved the bylaw in March 2020. On October 15th  2020, Victoria City Council indicated that it would adopt the bylaw on April 15, 2021. While it was recognized that many businesses and residents are supportive of using reusable bags, council followed staff’s recommendation to provide 6 months for businesses to prepare for final adoption. 

Single-use checkout bag guidelines

The City of Victoria encourages businesses to continue their efforts to reduce single-use checkout bags and support the everyday use of reusable bags by following the steps below:

  • Eliminate the use of plastic bags
  • Charge a fee for paper or reusable bags to encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags.
  • Ask customers whether they require a checkout bag, and if providing customers with a checkout bag, choose more sustainable products as follows:

Paper Bags: made out of paper and containing least 40% post-consumer recycled content; and labelled as recyclable.

Reusable Bags: designed and manufactured to be capable of at least 100 uses; and primarily made of cloth or other washable fabric.

  • Avoid the use of compostable or biodegradable plastic bags as they can contaminate recyclable plastics and do not breakdown in the region’s composting facilities.

Looking for tips to remember your reusable bag?

The Grade 5 class at James Bay Elementary brainstormed 10 tips to help you remember your reusable bags!