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.

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