– Communication with Businesses Essential to Ensure Smooth and Cost-Effective Transition
At the City of Surrey’s Council meeting last night, Mayor and Council approved a pathway to ban plastic checkout bags, foam cups and foam take-out containers and authorize staff to submit the bylaw change to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy for approval.
“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,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, 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.”
“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.”
1. Businesses will be prohibited from providing and distributing plastic checkout bags to customers, including those bags labelled as compostable or biodegradable.
2. 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.
3. Bylaw provisions include fees for paper and reusable bags to ensure that it does not result in unintended consequences where consumers simply substitute plastic with paper bags.
4. 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.
5. Business can no longer sell or otherwise provide Prepared Food in any Food Service Ware that contains Polystyrene Foam.
6. In order for the City of Surrey to implement the ban, the BC Government must approve the Bylaw. Both Provincial and Federal Governments are developing and implementing their own initiatives to reduce plastics that end up in the environment.
7. If the Bylaw is breached, a fine between $500 and $10,000 is levied. If the offence occurs for continuous days, a fine is issued for each day.
8. Organizations incorporated and in good standing under the Society Act or registered as a charitable society or organization under the federal Income Tax Act for a period of one year after the effective date of this Bylaw are exempt.
9. To read the corporate report visit https://www.surrey.ca/sites/default/files/corporate-reports/RPT%202020-R191%20Plastic%20Bags%20and%20Single-Use%20Items%20Bylaw.pdf
To read the Surrey Board of Trade policy on plastics: visit https://businessinsurrey.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/SBOT-Resolution-on-Plastics-FINAL.pdf
Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342, firstname.lastname@example.org