COURTENAY, B.C – Courtenay has approved a bylaw which will start phasing out single-use plastics.

The bylaw takes effect on July 1st but won’t be enforced until March 31st of next year.

Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells says the new law will help limit the plastic waste in the Comox Valley.

“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.”

For now, the regulations will focus on grocery bags and plastic drinking straws provided by businesses.

Businesses are still allowed to give bags to customers made of paper or designed for at least 100 uses, have handles, and have a washable fabric.

Straws provided by restaurants or other food establishments, however, cannot be made of plastic.

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

Earlier this month the federal government announced a plan to ban single-use plastics nationwide as early as 2021.