Surrey is a step closer to rolling out its plastic bag and foam-takeout container ban.
Monday (May 10), council approved a ‘Communication and Education Plan’ to prepare businesses for the ban, which is planned to take effect in late November.
“I know this is just a strategy that we’re approving – the actual ban is coming later on in the year,” said Coun. Doug Elford.
“But in the meantime, I just want to give a shout out to the businesses in Surrey that have already taken an early-adapter role. I went grocery shopping the other day and they didn’t have plastic bags. I commend them for that.”
Those early adapters include Safeway, Save-on Foods and Fresh Street, according to a corporate report. Other businesses noted in the report as getting on board ahead of the bylaw are Earls, Cactus Club and White Spot restaurants, which have already shifted to using alternatives to Styrofoam.
In February, Surrey issued a news release announcing it “will start finalizing its plan to ban plastic checkout bags, foam cups and takeout containers,” after the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy announced it had approved a bylaw banning single-use plastic bags in four cities, including Surrey.
In a news release issued Tuesday (May 11), Mayor Doug McCallum said Surrey is anticipated to be the first Metro Vancouver city to implement a ban on plastic checkout bags. Vancouver is expected to implement its ban in early 2022.
“Council has been leading the way on green initiatives and this step is proof of the measures we are prepared to take to protect and better our environment,” McCallum said in the release.
“This move affirms Surrey’s commitment to reducing landfill waste and pollution created by these types of materials. In the coming months, we will be working closely with our business community to support them on this very important initiative.”
According to information on the city’s website, the ban bylaw also proposes fees of 25 cents per paper checkout bag and $2 per reusable checkout bag. There are also provisions for issuing penalties to businesses that do not comply.
The communication and education plan outlines tools, resources and awareness activities to prepare businesses and the public, and includes a business toolkit, virtual information sessions, brochures and “additional engagement activities and resources,” the release states.
Coun. Mandeep Nagra on Monday noted the importance of ensuring the campaign includes “all the other languages that are spoken in Surrey so they fully understand what the new bylaw is.”
Elford said he is confident the transition will be a smooth one.
– with files from Tom Zytaruk
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