Bylaw to ban plastic bags stalls

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A proposal to ban single-use plastic shopping bags in Falher is being tossed around.

At its meeting June 9, council tabled second reading of a bylaw to ban single-use checkout bags.

“Council tabled the bylaw due to the position of many stores in regards to use of reusable bags during the COVID-19 pandemic,” CAO James Bell says.

“Council does not want to make things harder for businesses during these times and therefore wants to wait until we are unequivocally through the pandemic before finalizing the bylaw.”

He says a bylaw may not be needed if by the end of the pandemic, enough local business have eliminated single-use plastic bags on their own.

The bylaw received first reading in March 2020.

However, further readings were delayed when many businesses refused customers’ reusable bags at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Municipal Government Act stipulates a bylaw is automatically rescinded if two years passes between first and third readings, Bell says. As such, the bylaw returned to council.

Bell says the bylaw was requested by the Smoky River Regional Waste Commission.

“A large number of plastic bags are deposited into the landfill and find their way to neighbouring agricultural lands, leaving local farmers to deal with the issue and/or the waste commission in some cases paying for cleanup of the bags,” Bell says.

The bylaw would not apply to plastic bags or plastic coverings to package loose fruits or vegetables, loose hardware such and nails and bolts, plastic used to wrap baked prepared foods or baked goods and flowers, plastic used to contain prescription drugs received from a pharmacy, and plastic used to protect or contain professional laundering or dry cleaning.

Reusable bags have been banned by Alberta Health Services during the pandemic.

What Falher proposes

  • Except as provided in the proposed bylaw, no business shall provide a checkout bag to a customer.
  • A business may provide a checkout bag to a customer if:
  • The customer is asked whether he or she needs a bag.
  • The bag provided is a paper bag or reusable bag.
  • No business shall sell or provide a customer a plastic bag.
  • No business shall deny or discourage the use by a customer of his/her reusable bag for the purpose of transporting items purchased or received by the customer from the business.

Share this post