(File photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey staff to start ‘immediate’ work on single-use plastic bag ban

McCallum says a ban would begin ‘no later than’ Jan. 1 2021

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum says a single-use plastic bag ban is in the works for the city.

McCallum first announced the news during Monday’s (Jan. 13) council meeting, where he said the ban would start “no later than” Jan. 1, 2021.

In a news release, McCallum said this is a “simple and effective step” that would have an “immediate beneficial impact on our city.”

He said in this day and age, everyone can play a role in curbing waste and consumption.

“There is no reason not to have a reusable shopping bag close at hand for bagging groceries or other goods,” McCallum said.

He said he’s asked city staff to “immediately” start work on developing bylaws so the ban can go into effect at the start of 2021.

He added that his council colleagues are “fully in support of this initiative.” A report will be brought forward to council within the next month, McCallum said.

Councillor Brenda Locke said in April 2019 that she wanted to see a ban in Surrey on single-use items such as plastic bags, straws and coffee cups.

At the April 30, 2019 meeting, Locke received council’s support to direct staff to draft a report on “what’s being planned specifically at the regional level and what the timelines are to move forward right here in Surrey.”

READ ALSO: Surrey councillor wants to ban single-use plastic bags, straws, April 30, 2019

McCallum said that globally, other governments such as New Zealand and “most of Europe” have banned single-use plastic bags. He said it is important that Surrey is a leader in the region and the province in reducing plastic bags.

Locally, the City of Vancouver’s ban on single-use foam items went into effect on Jan. 1. It’s part of Vancouver’s plan to reduce single-use item waste in support of the city’s zero-waste goal by 2040.

McCallum said he wants to encourage Surrey business to “take the initiative to eliminate” single-use bags before the city-wide ban comes into effect. He said some businesses have already done so.

Following the city’s announcement of the planned ban, the Surrey Board of Trade said it’s “pleased” with Surrey’s plan to ban single-use plastic shopping bags, but a “coordinated cross-government plan (is) needed.”

SBOT CEO said it’s a “vital step” that all cities need to take in the fight against climate change.

The board is calling on the provincial government to:

• enact regulation under the B.C. Environmental Act to “gradually phase out use of ‘single-use plastics’ to align the province with the objectives of the Clean BC Plan

• commission a one-year study through industry, businesses and educational institutions to “research alternatives to single-use plastics” and commit to a timeframe for “complete removal” from the waste stream

• work with the food and beverage industry to “see the elimination of the production of dirty Styrofoam”

• implement an awareness campaign to “help consumers understand that plastic overwrap and other flexible plastics can be taken to recycle depots”

– with file from Amy Reid

READ ALSO: Surrey says no plastic straws, cutlery allowed at Fusion Festival, June 27, 2018

READ ALSO: Surrey brothers work toward a ‘Foam-Free Vaisakhi’, April 9, 2018



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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