Kamloops should follow the example set in Victoria when it comes to a ban on plastic bags.
We should also look at how Salmon Arm is attempting to introduce its plastic bag bylaw.
These bylaws ban plastic bags in a meaningful and thoughtful way, which already address many of the concerns I am reading about in recent letters to the editor.
In Victoria, the purpose of the bylaw is to regulate single-use checkout bags.
The bylaw does not limit residents using already owned and existing plastic bags, plastic bags used to line waste bins or bags used to collect and dispose of pet waste.
Victoria allows plastic bags to be used for specific purposes, including packaging loose bulk items (fruit, vegetables, etc.), frozen foods, meat, poultry and fish, among others.
In Salmon Arm, the bylaw “provides exemptions for many items where a re-usable bag would not be suitable; including the packaging of bulk items, frozen food, meats and poultry, flowers, large items that require protection and cannot fit in a reusable bag, etc. Further exemptions may be considered in the future.”
If people are worried about contaminants being transferred in re-usable bags, they can either use a plastic bag or purchase a paper bag to transport items home.
For those thinking it can’t be done, an online search can provide details of jurisdictions around the world that have either banned or taxed plastic bags.
Thirty-two countries have already banned plastic bags, including developed and developing countries, such as India, Italy, China, France and Kenya, all with a range of implementation and success.
The bylaws in Victoria and Salmon Arm seem extremely manageable when looking at other areas. If we want a real draconian example, just search details in Kenya and how that country is reducing “flying toilets” — residents relieve themselves in plastic bags and toss them out the door — by threatening four years of imprisonment or fines of $40,000 for anyone producing, selling or simply carrying a plastic bag.
I applaud Coun. Dale Bass’s motion and hope Kamloops will enact a reasonable bylaw to limit, not completely eliminate, plastic bag sales in the city.