Rachael Montgomery, left, chair of the Surfrider Foundation’s Victoria chapter, is joined by a counterpart in a plastic bag dress that was officially retired last week at a gathering to honour winners of the City of Victoria’s BYOBag video contest. The new City bylaw banning single-use plastic bags is now in effect, but merchants have a six-month grace period to use up what bags they have in stock before risking fines for providing plastic bags to customers. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

EDITORIAL: Get ready for the new plastics reality in Victoria

Plastic bags not gone yet from store checkouts, but consumers should make alternative choices now

Discussions leading up to the City of Victoria’s move to remove “single-use” plastic bags from circulation by city merchants weren’t always cheerful.

Many in the local business community worried whether the changes would add another cost to their already pressed operating budgets, or even alienate customers. But in general most agreed that moving customers away from plastics and toward reusable bags and containers was a good thing.

While we’ve now reached the July 1 date for enactment of the new City bylaw, plastic bags haven’t disappeared from retailers’ shops. Until Jan. 1, 2019, operators are permitted to use up supplies of plastic bags purchased before last December. After that date only specialty plastics such as meat wrapping and dry cleaning bags may be used and merchants risk fines if still providing banned plastics to customers.

While the grace period is intended to ease the business community into the new rules, the hope is that more consumers will immediately start weaning themselves off plastics and plan ahead for shopping trips of all kinds.

That means keeping cloth or other reusable bags handy, such as in your vehicle, your backpack, handbag or purse. As those who watched the James Bay Community School video entry for the City’s BYOBag contest will attest, there’s lots of ways to remind oneself to bring your own bags when shopping.

WATCH: Customers encouraged to wean themselves off plastic bags by Jan. 1

Others are watching what Victoria is doing with its bag ban, and not simply our neighbouring municipalities. Prince Edward Island is enacting provincial legislation that appears to use the City’s bylaw as the basis for the wording for the P.E.I regulation. Victoria’s Mayor Lisa Helps told attendees at a gathering to honour the video contest winners last week that she envisions taking the bag ban idea to the powers that be in this province, as a way of further reducing the use of plastic bags.

With A&W Restaurants, among others, planning to phase out plastic drinking straws for a more environmentally friendly model, look for the City to work towards that goal as a way to further reduce plastic waste in the community.

Just Posted

Goldie goes for gold in roller derby world cup

Duncan roller derby star making impact on world stage

Parksville resident builds bike to glide along railroad

ICF says rail use not permitted on active railroad

Games opening ceremonies promise to be magical

The Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games will kick-off on Thursday, July 19… Continue reading

‘Love Bite’ brings vital message for dog owners

Thetis Island woman recounts life-changing ordeal

‘When did we become such jerks?’

Thoughts on civility, compassion, empathy and victim blaming online following river rescue

VIDEO: Top winners announced for sand sculpting competition

See the sculptures as they progress through the competition at Parksville Community Park

Firefighters rescue dog as two house fires happen at the same time in Nanaimo

House extensively damaged on Uplands Drive, coach house burns down on Haliburton Street

Nanaimo lacrosse goalie scores two goals in one game

Charles Claxton leads senior A Timbermen to their fourth straight win

LOCAL FLAVOUR: South Island expecting a bumper berry crop

It’s berry time in Saanich. My raspberries are getting plump and ripe… Continue reading

VIDEO: Firefighters put out brush fire in Nanaimo

Fire broke out in the area of a new development under construction in East Wellington

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

Most Read