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Sooke plastic bag ban bylaw rolls out Sunday

Businesses to charge a quarter for paper bags
Tyra Betschart, assistant manager at the Serious Coffee in Sooke, says the they have always used plastic bags. (RIck Stiebel-Sooke News Mirror)

Unless you’re adept at juggling, remember to bring a reusable bag when you go shopping, or prepare to pony up for a paper one.

Sooke’s new checkout bag bylaw comes into effect on Sunday (May 22), which means plastic bags will go the way of the dinosaurs they originally came from.

The bylaw was adopted on Nov. 22, 2021 to encourage consumers to bring their own reusable bags for retail transactions. The bylaw is in line with provincial legislation that requires businesses to charge for reusable bags as a way to reduce the amount of plastic bags that wind up in landfills.

Under Sooke’s bylaw, businesses will be required to charge a quarter for a paper bag or a minimum of $2 for a reusable one.

“We understand this has already become a regular practice for many shoppers and a transition several local businesses have already made, thank you for your leadership!” Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said in a statement at the time the bylaw was adopted. “We are pleased to take one more step to reduce waste while caring for our natural environment.”

Village Food Markets manager Wayne Kneeshaw said he doesn’t believe the changes will have an impact on the business.

“We already got rid of plastic bags until COVID changed that so it’s not going to affect us,” he said. “It will probably affect the public more than anybody else. People repurpose plastic bags over and over, so now they’ll have to purchase them elsewhere. I see lots of litter, but rarely if ever any plastic bags.”

Tyra Betschart, assistant manger at Serious Coffee in Sooke, said they have always used paper bags, so the bylaw won’t affect them.

“Personally, I think we should all be willing to do whatever we can to transition to a more sustainable future,” she added.

Sooke Coun. Jeff Bateman said he believes the bylaw is a great thing.

“Protecting our natural environment is one of the priorities of our official community plan (OCP),” he said. “It’s a theme we’ve heard loudly and clearly during our latest round of OCP open houses. It’s one of those slightly inconvenient but effective ways to protect our environment, and I’m happy to see many local businesses leading the way.”

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Cathy Gagne, a cashier at Village Food Markets, with one of the reusable bags available at the store. (Rick Stiebel-Sooke News Mirror)
Cathy Gagne, a cashier at Village Food Markets, with one of the reusable bags available at the store. (Rick Stiebel-Sooke News Mirror)