Plastic bags in Nanaimo stores will be gone forever as of next July 1st, if things go according to plan. 

City council has passed the new Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw, and it will now be forwarded to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy for approval. That will likely take three to six months, after which it will return to Council for adoption with an effective date of July 1, 2021.

The Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw encourages the use of reusable bags by eliminating use of plastic bags and sets fees for paper bags and new reusable bags. 

Paper bags need to contain at least 40% post-consumer recycled content and be labelled as recyclable. Reusable bags should be washable and capable of at least 100 uses. 

The regulation prohibits compostable and biodegradable checkout bags; the City says those types of bags still contain micro-plastics that contaminate  recycling and compost streams as they degrade.

City of Nanaimo Zero Waste Coordinator Kirsten Gellein says “Many Nanaimo residents and businesses are already leading the way in reducing single-use checkout bags.  We look forward to working with our citizens to achieve our Zero Waste goals.”

There are a few exceptions, such as small paper bags, bags for bulk foods and produce, wrap for flowers, and multi-packs of plastic bags.        

In a news release, Mayor Leanord Krog says “Reducing plastic use is not just a symbolic gesture. It is a real step forward in saving the planet and Nanaimo must and is playing its part.”

Nanaimo’s Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw would complement the federal and provincial governments movements to reduce harmful single-use plastics, and support the waste reduction goals set out in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Solid Waste Management Plan.

See the bylaw here: