Single-Use Items Bylaw FAQ

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Single-Use Items Bylaw FAQ

  • What does this bylaw aim to achieve?

    The District of Squamish Single-Use Items Bylaw supports Council’s climate action priorities by significantly reducing the use of single-use items across the spectrum. 

  • What are single-use items?

    Single-use items are disposable items such as products and packaging that are disposed of after a single use.

  • What materials are being regulated as part of this bylaw?

    The Single-Use Items Bylaw will regulate checkout bags and straws to begin with. This includes both paper and plastic items.

  • Why are straws required to be available upon request?

    Plastic bendable straws are an important accessibility tool for people with disabilities and therefore businesses who sell beverages will still be required to provide straws for those who request them. 

  • What is an Accessible Straw?

    An Accessible Straw is a plastic, bendable straw required for health, medical or disability reasons.

  • What about biodegradable and compostable plastics?

    Biodegradable and compostable plastics pose significant problems for recycling and composting facilities due to their chemical composition. This bylaw prohibits the distribution of biodegradable and compostable plastic bags and straws.

  • Will all businesses who provide checkout bags be required to sell them upon request?

    Yes, this bylaw applies to all businesses in Squamish who wish to provide checkout bags. A toolkit will be provided to retailers that will include materials necessary to inform and educate their employees and customers.

     

  • What are the non-checkout bag exemptions of this bylaw?

    Bags will still be allowed to package the following:

    • Loose bulk items (such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grain or candy);
    • Loose small hardware items such as nails and bolts;
    • Frozen foods such meat, poultry or fish, whether pre-packaged or not;
    • Flowers or potted plants;
    • Prepared foods or bakery goods that are not pre-packaged;
    • Prescription drugs received from a pharmacy;
    • Clothing after professional laundering or dry cleaning.
  • Why are paper bags included in the bylaw?

    It is estimated that the production of paper bags generates three times the environmental and greenhouse gas than the production of plastic bags due to the way in which they are manufactured and transported. In addition, paper can produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas, when breaking down. Research suggests that banning single-use plastic bags could lead to increased use of other types of bags, such as paper bags, and therefore the bylaw aims to reduce the use of all checkout bags.

  • Does the new bylaw require that I buy new reusable bags?

    Only if you need one! If you already use reusable bags, that’s great. We encourage you to continue bringing them with you when you go shopping and reusing them over time. We also encourage the reuse of old plastic and paper bags.

     

  • How much will a checkout bag cost?

    Checkout bag fees have been set based on the environmental impact of each material. If customers require a bag, they can only be offered according to the escalating fee schedule (minimum fee posted; retailers may charge more):

    • Bring your own bag: Free!
    • Plastic Bag: $0.10 each until March 17, $0.25 each after that
    • Paper Bag: $0.30 each until March 17, $0.75 each after that
    • Reusable Bag: $1.10 each until March 17, $2.75 each after that
  • What about other single-use items such as beverage and take out containers?

    This bylaw is a step towards a phased approach to reducing all single use items in our community, which will eventually include take-out containers, cups, Styrofoam containers and other single-use items.

  • What about 'biodegradable' or 'compostable' plastic bags and straws?

    Some single use plastics are marketed as being recyclable or compostable, but which either cannot be recycled (such as straws), or result in contaminating organics loads (such as lids, bags, or containers). The bylaw therefore prohibits “biodegradable” or “compostable” plastic bags and straws as these items cannot be composted or recycled.

  • What about drive-thrus?

    Drive-thru and take-out items are considered an exemption under the bylaw as the food is made and packaged on the premises. We do encourage businesses to prompt whether a bag is needed and allow customers to bring their own as a best practice.

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