Nanaimo could regulate plastic shopping bags next summer — bylaw pending provincial approval

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The city plans to launch an education campaign to assist residents and businesses with the transition prior to the bylaw being implemented.

The City of Nanaimo expects its plastic bag ban bylaw to be approved by the province in three to six months and to be implemented next summer.

The bylaw went through a third reading at the city’s regular council meeting on Oct.19 and will now be forward to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy for approval.

“Reducing plastic use is a not just a symbolic gesture. It is a real step forward in saving the planet and Nanaimo must — and is playing its part,” said Mayor Leonard Krog.

The new regulations are designed to encourage the use of reusable bags and will include fees for paper and new reusable bags. The city said paper bags need to contain at least 40 per cent post-consumer recycled content and be labelled as recyclable.  

Reusable bags should be washable and capable of at least 100 uses, the city said. 

Informed by public consultation conducted in 2019, the regulation lists exemptions including small paper bags, bags for bulk foods and produce, wraps for flowers and multi-packs of plastic bags. The regulation prohibits compostable and biodegradable checkout bags.


The city plans to launch an education campaign to assist residents and businesses with the transition prior to the bylaw being implemented.

“Many Nanaimo residents and businesses are already leading the way in reducing single-use checkout bags. We look forward to working with our citizens to achieve our Zero Waste goals,” said Kirsten Gellein, zero waste coordinator at the City of Nanaimo.

Nanaimo’s Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw would compliment the federal and provincial governments’ movements to reduce harmful single-use plastics and support the waste reduction goals set out in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Solid Waste Management Plan, according to the city.

The city expects the bylaw to be effective July 1, 2021 if it.

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