Cumberland to ban single-use plastic bags and straws starting this summer

Single-use item regulation bylaw received first, second and third reading at Monday’s council meeting

Remember to bring your reusable bags when you go shopping in Cumberland.

At Monday’s meeting, Cumberland council gave first, second and third reading to their new single-use item regulation bylaw, banning single-use plastic bags and straws in the Village. Biodegradable and compostable plastic bags are also included in the ban as they do not always break down properly in the landfill.

The ban will be put in place no earlier than July 2019 and enforcement will not commence until January 2020.

“We’re a bit of a champion of this thing,” said Kaelin Chambers, economic development coordinator with the Village, adding that other municipalities have seen the Village’s progress with imposing a ban and have reached out for advice.

The bylaw is part of a phased approach to banning all single-use plastics in the Village, including styrofoam food containers and plastic cutlery.

The City of Courtenay and the CVRD are both considering a single-use plastic ban, and Comox council recently directed staff to prepare a single-use plastic bag and straw ban at a February meeting.

READ MORE: Comox considers plastic bag ban

“I think it would be great for all of us to be on the same page and that would give a clear message to everybody about what’s expected and to remember your bags,” said Coun. Jesse Ketler.

Enforcement of the ban will be complaint-driven and businesses giving out single-use plastic bags or straws could be subject to fines after Jan. 1, 2020, but Chambers doesn’t expect implementation of the ban will be a problem.

“I think the social stigma is going to be stronger than any sort of monetary enforcement we’ll be able to provide,” said Chambers.

Village staff will continue to reach out to businesses and distribute public education materials in the time leading up to the ban.

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