A pile of plastic shopping bags. (Black Press file photo)

A pile of plastic shopping bags. (Black Press file photo)

Surrey moves to ban plastic shopping bags and foam cups, and stiffens tree-cutting fines

Plastic bags bylaw now goes to Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy for approval

Surrey city council chose its final meeting of 2020 to OK two bylaws that, in city hall’s words, “will make for a positive environmental impact on the City.”

On Monday (Dec. 21), the council approved a Plastic Bags and Single-Use Items Bylaw that bans plastic shopping bags, foam cups and foam take-out containers.

The council also green-lit amendments to the Surrey Tree Protection Bylaw that will see penalties “substantially” increased for illegally-cut trees, to as much as $20,000 for a significant one.

It’s all part of the council “renewing its focus on our environment,” according to Mayor Doug McCallum.

The passed bylaws are “a precursor of the priorities we will be placing on bettering Surrey’s environment in the new year,” he stated in a news release Tuesday (Dec. 22).

The plastic bags bylaw has been submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy for formal approval, with proposed fines of up to $10,000.

• RELATED STORY, from January 2020: Victoria’s plastic-bag ban ended by Supreme Court of Canada.

Under Surrey’s bylaw, businesses will be prohibited from providing and distributing plastic checkout bags to customers, including those bags labelled as “compostable” or “biodegradable,” according to a corporate report. “A list of exemptions is included in the Bylaw, such as plastic bags used to package bulk foods, produce, frozen foods, meat, small hardware items (such as nails and bolts), as well as other similar items.”

Also, the bylaw suggests fees for paper and reusable bags “to ensure that it does not result in unintended consequences where consumers simply substitute plastic with paper bags,” the report says. “While the use of reusable bags is encouraged, as they reduce waste and litter, a fee implemented to the purchase of reusable bags will prevent residents from purchasing one during each store visit.”

The proposed fees are at least 25 cents for paper bags, and at least $2 for reusable bags.

As for foam take-out containers and cups, businesses will be prohibited from providing and distributing all white and coloured polystyrene foam take-out containers and cups for the purpose of serving or transporting prepared food.

“There are other environmentally friendly alternatives readily available for businesses, such as rigid plastic containers which can be recycled in residential curbside programs and fibre-based material which can be composted in curbside organics programs,” notes the report to council.

The provisions will be exempt for hospitals and community care facilities, as “these organizations depend on (single-use items) to eliminate the increased risk of patient-to-patient contamination that may be present in these facilities, and to meet patient care standards. In addition, a temporary exemption for a one-year period will be provided to charitable food providers.”

On Tuesday, Surrey Board of Trade applauded the city’s Plastic Ban Bylaw, but called for a phased-in approach.

“While it does not align completely with the Surrey Board of Trade’s 2019 policy calling for the phasing out single-use plastics, it is a step in the right direction,” stated Anita Huberman, CEO of Surrey Board of Trade. “There are innovative industry opportunities that are available now, or that can be developed, that will lead to new employment opportunities.”

Huberman said the City of Surrey “must consult with the business community and introduce a phased in approach to allow the economy to react to the incoming ban.

“Although there is no set date for communication, education, or implementation as of yet, we urge the City to ensure adequate consultation occurs before a blanket ban is implemented.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2019: Surrey councillor wants to ban single-use plastic bags, straws.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

EnvironmentPlastic Bag BanPlastic Bags

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

Music therapist Felicia Wall in the music room at Phoenix Society in Surrey. (submitted photo)
Eclectic album showcases songs recorded by Surrey residents in recovery

Project at Phoenix Society took about six months to complete, with help of music therapist

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A Transit Police officer and another driver were injured on Nov. 4 in a traffic crash while the officer was responding to another officers call for help catching a man who escaped custody. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating Surrey crash that injured transit cop, another driver

Crash happened 11 p.m. Nov. 4, at 128th Street and 93rd Avenue in Cedar Hills

An Amica White Rock resident receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)
PHOTOS: South Surrey seniors grateful for ‘freedom’ of COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccination clinics at Fraser Health long-term and assisted-living sites were to wrap up Jan. 15

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read