Courtenay Council Approves Single-Use Plastics Regulations

June 19, 2019

The City of Courtenay has adopted a phased-in approach for a bylaw that will regulate single-use plastics in Courtenay.

Single-use plastics generally refer to plastic products that are considered disposable and only used once before they are recycled or more commonly thrown away.

The bylaw is effective July 1, 2019 and will be phased-in over nine months. Official implementation begins on March 31, 2020. For more information visit

Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells said the bylaw will reduce impacts on solid waste and recycling programs, and help limit plastics entering the environment. “Plastic waste is a serious global issue, and single-use plastics make up around 40 percent of total plastic manufactured around the world. We all pay the price for this convenience through landfill and recycling costs. An even greater concern is that our plastic waste can spread far beyond our boundaries and pollute the natural environment.

“Many of our residents and businesses are leading the way on reducing single-use plastics, and we believe this new bylaw will further support our shared goals of minimizing materials entering the waste stream as well as our rivers, forests, and estuary.”

At this time the regulations will focus on single-use plastic checkout bags and plastic drinking straws provided by businesses to patrons. Businesses are still permitted to provide bags to customers constructed of paper or designed for at least 100 uses, have handles, and of washable fabric. When straws are provided by restaurants or other food establishments, they must be made from a material other than plastic.

There are several exemptions to the regulations for hygiene or other reasons where a suitable alternative product is not currently available. 

Over 1,000 residents and numerous businesses provided feedback on single-use plastics to the City of Courtenay through online surveys this past spring.

A number of municipalities on Vancouver Island have either finalized or are in the process of instituting bylaws, aimed at reducing the impact of single use items. On June 10, 2019, the Government of Canada announced they will ban single-use plastics across the county as early as 2021.