According to one estimate, Saanich residents use 200 single-use plastic bags each year. Saanich’s proposed ban of single-use plastic bags would come into effect at the end of 2019 with businesses granted a grace period until the middle of 2020. (Black Press file photo)

Each Saanich resident uses 200 single-use plastic bags a year, report estimates

Second Capital Region municipality looks to join plastic bag ban

Each resident of Saanich (official pop: 114,145) uses about 200 single-use plastic bags per year, according to a new report carrying details about Saanich’s proposed bylaw to ban such bags.

Victoria is so far the only community in the region that bans them and Saanich has followed the process. Monday, council plans to review and potentially give first and second reading to the required bylaw to ban the bags.

Saanich’s ban would come into effect by the end of 2019 with businesses receiving a grace period until June 2020 to hand out remaining bags. Businesses in Saanich hand out single-use plastic bags worth $22.8 million each year, according to an estimate in the report by Brent Reems, director of building, bylaw, licensing and legal services.

RELATED: Victoria first B.C. municipality to adopt plastic bag ban

RELATED: Plastic bags to be banned in Saanich by June 2020

Removing this volume of bags would save municipal resources, Reems said.

“While it is difficult to estimate the impact of removing plastic bags from the waste stream as they are most often mixed with other garbage and remain undetected, any reduction in waste materials assists with reduced garbage volume and pickup frequency,” he said.

Banning single-use plastic bags would also “reduce the risk of fouling up municipal parks and property and underground storm water and sewer systems” likely to be impacted by intense rainfall thanks to the region’s changing climate, said Reems.

While environmentalists have long lobbied for the proposed ban, citing the harmful effects of plastic bags on human and non-human life, Reems’ report strikes a distinct economic note in stressing the expected financial benefits of the ban.

RELATED: Saanich Monday to debate ban of single-use plastic bags

While some businesses have already taken steps to ban single-use bags, they continue to “create avoidable waste and its associated costs,” said Reems. The proposed ban would lower those costs, he said.

But the proposed ban could also require additional public resources in terms on enforcement, he warned. Saanich currently lacks the resource to enforce the proposed ban, without harming existing enforcement priorities, he said.

The basic fine for various violations of the proposed bylaw is $75 if paid within 30 days, $100 after that.

The bylaw prohibits businesses from selling or supplying customers with single-use plastic bags; prohibits businesses from supplying customers with reusable or paper bags free of charge (unless already used), and requires businesses to charge a minimum of 15 cents for a paper bag and $1 for a reusable bag, going up to 25 cents and $2 following a year-long transition period.

It also contains various exceptions for specific types of goods, such as fruit, vegetables and meat among others.

Coun. Susan Brice first proposed banning single-use plastic bags in September 2017. While these efforts gained steam through the fall of 2017, council voted in February 2018 to hold off with further action until after the Victoria bylaw had passed legal muster.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Project Zero aims to create circular Vancouver Island economy

Incubator to stimulate necessary changes to economy

GALLERY: Shots of the lunar eclipse from Victoria and beyond

Amateur and professional photographers capture the stunning celestial event

Celebration of Life hosted for 29 Victoria trees set to be removed

Community Trees Matter Network hosting “goodbye and thank you” for trees on Fort Street

Head of Greater Victoria builders warns of changing construction climate

VRBA director Casey Edge also questions Saanich’s commitment towards housing affordability

Saanich police are looking for a man who exposed himself Saturday night

The incident exposure happened at the intersection of Feltham Road and Shelbourne Street

VIDEO: Hundreds enjoy lunar eclipse through UVic telescopes

Rare “super blood wolf moon” allows a closer glimpse at the moon’s surface

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Support pours in for Vancouver Island couple whose home was destroyed by massive blaze

GoFundMe page reached $10,000 in one day for soon-to-be parents

Most Read