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Plastic check-out bags (conventional, compostable or biodegradable plastics to transport purchased items) will be banned.

Disposable food service accessories (cutlery, stir sticks, straws, sachets, condiment packets, napkins, wet wipes, beverage cup lids, cup sleeves) will be made available by request.

Problem plastic food service packaging (cups, bowls, trays, cartons, film wrap, containers or plates made from polystyrene foam (Styrofoam), PVC, PVDC, compostable or biodegradable plastics) will be banned.

All oxo-degradable plastic packaging will be banned.

The following categories of products will be banned under the regulation, starting December 20, 2023:

  • Plastic check out bags made from conventional, compostable or biodegradable plastics that are used to transport purchased items, like grocery bags provided at the check-out counter. Plastic check out bag alternatives will have minimum costs imposed: $0.25 for paper bags and $2.00 for reusable bags.
  • Problem plastic food service packaging including cups, bowls, trays, cartons, film wrap, containers or plates made from polystyrene foam (Styrofoam), PVC, PVDC, and compostable or biodegradable plastics.
  • Single-use plastic utensils.
  • All oxo-degradable plastic packaging.

Disposable food service accessories such as cutlery, stir sticks, straws, sachets, condiment packets, napkins, wet wipes, beverage cup lids, and cup sleeves will be available only by request. Bundling of these items (e.g. a packet containing cutlery, napkins, and wet wipes) will not be permitted.

Self service stations will be permitted. Research has shown that when people have the option to take what they need they use considerably less than when given the same items. 

Polystyrene foam (also known as styrofoam) trays used to package raw meat, poultry, and fish (in a state not ready to be eaten) will have  a phase-out period ending July 1, 2030. More time is needed to develop alternatives for packaging these raw meat, poultry, and fish products.

As of December 20, 2023 there will be a phased-in implementation of the regulation. Regulated items will banned, provided by-request only, or charged a fee at the following dates:

December 20, 2023:

  • Prohibited: Single-use Plastic Utensils
  • Available By-Request Only: Food Service Accessories

July 15, 2024:

  • Prohibited: Plastic Shopping Bags, Plastic Food Service Ware, Biodegradable Plastic/PVDC Food Wrap
  • Restricted: Compostable Plastic Food Service Ware

July 1, 2028:

  • Prohibited: PVC Food Wrap

July 1, 2030:

  • Prohibited: Polystyrene Foam Trays (for raw meat products)

There are a number of exemptions to the regulation. Exemptions will be considered for several reasons, including: accessibility, affordability, or a lack of suitable alternative products or materials.

There are several categories of shopping bags that will be exempt from fees: 

  • Paper shopping bags used for drive-thru or delivery orders containing food or beverages that are prepared by the business operator. Grocery delivery orders will not be exempt. 
  • Small paper bags for bakery items, produce, and prescriptions. 
  • Distribution bags used for delivery of charitable food services.
  • Take-a-bag, leave-a-bag programs or similar.

There are two circumstances where by-request is not required for food service accessories: 

  • Cold and hot beverage cup lids as part of a drive through or delivery order, to prevent spills.
  • Self serve stations. 

Prohibited items are exempt from the regulation in the following cases: 

  • Items needed for safe provision of medical and health care, like bundled food service accessories in a hospital or care facility.
  • Food service packaging made from paper or fibre that are lined with compostable plastic, which can be managed by BC’s existing recycling systems.
  • Food service packaging used to package food for distribution or sale outside of BC.

This regulation is designed to complement and expand on the actions taken by various BC municipalities and the federal government. It makes clear the fee structure for paper and reusable shopping bags, and standardizes the regulations and fees across the entire province. 

From December 20, 2023, federal regulation will ban the sale, as well as import and manufacturing of plastic bags, preventing the use of plastic shopping bags in Canada. It will also ban the sale, import and manufacturing of specific single-use plastic food service ware made from problem plastics, including PVC, polystyrene foam and oxo-degradable plastics.

On July 14, 2023, the Province of British Columbia unveiled groundbreaking regulations aimed at tackling the environmental challenges posed by single-use and hard-to-recycle plastics. These new measures promise a significant positive impact on our environment.

The recently announced regulation in British Columbia takes a strong stance against single-use plastics. Under this initiative, single-use plastic bags, problem plastic food service packaging, and all oxo-degradable plastic packaging will be banned. Items such as cutlery, straws, and beverage cup lids will now be available only upon request. These actions are crucial steps towards reducing plastic waste that harms wildlife and ecosystems.

See the full text of the regulation here, and read the press release from the Province of BC here.