Earth Day spurs action on plastic pollution

April 22, 2022


Victoria — People throughout British Columbia continue to take positive action to prevent plastic waste and those efforts could be further strengthened as the Province moves to regulate more single-use and plastic products.

People are invited to comment on a proposed regulation and further actions, which are intended to strengthen B.C.’s efforts to increase the reuse and recycling of plastics, and ban specific products that can damage habitat, waterways and the species that rely on a healthy environment.

“I can think of no better day than Earth Day to take the next step in tackling plastic pollution to continue restoring the health of our environment,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The CleanBC Plastics Action Plan has already removed hundreds of tonnes of plastic garbage from B.C.’s wild spaces and shorelines. This next step can take us much further and prevent needless plastic waste from reaching our landfills.”

The proposed changes address the most problematic single-use items in British Columbia and help move B.C. to a circular economy approach, where zero waste is produced. The proposed regulation would be phased in to provide the time needed for education and for businesses to use existing inventory.

Budget 2022 invests an additional $10 million in the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund to support more B.C.-based innovations to reduce the use of plastic and make better use of recycled plastic.

The Province launched the CleanBC Action Plan in 2019. Since that time, local governments throughout the province have taken steps to get plastic pollution out of their communities and green spaces. Seventeen municipalities have passed bylaws to limit single-use plastics.

“Today, the Province has taken a necessary step forward on our pathway to a circular economy. This announcement comes on the heels of Victoria’s unanimous decision to shift our community to the everyday use of reusable cups and containers,” said Lisa Helps, mayor of Victoria. “Safeguarding our natural environment requires action at every level of government, and we are committed to continue working alongside the Province in reducing waste.”

The Preventing Single-use and Plastic Waste Intentions Paper describes the proposed provincewide rules to guide co-ordinated action and build on local and federal government waste-reduction efforts.

CleanBC Plastics Action Plan initiatives include:

  • approving local government bylaws and amending a regulation to allow all municipalities to institute bans on plastic bags and certain single-use plastics, making it easier to prevent plastics from polluting their communities;
  • passing legislation to allow provincial bans on single-use items;
  • establishing the CleanBC Plastics Action fund, investing $10 million in incremental funding, which builds on the $5 million provided in 2020-21 for innovative technologies to turn used plastics into new products to support the circular economy for plastics.
    • The funded projects have increased B.C.’s capacity to replace or recycle over 20,000 tonnes of plastic per year.
  • adding milk and milk-substitute beverage containers to B.C.’s deposit-refund system to capture the millions of containers from restaurants, schools and offices without a dedicated recycling system;
  • phasing in the recycling of new products, such as electric-vehicle batteries, mattresses, compressed gas canisters and medical sharps (e.g., hypodermic needles), over the next four years under the Extended Producer Responsibility Five-Year Plan; and
  • supporting the largest coastline cleanup in B.C.’s history through the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative, with more than 900 tonnes of marine debris and plastic removed to date, and at least 60% of it reused and recycled.

Learn More:

To learn more about the proposed single-use and plastic waste prevention regulation and to provide your input, visit: