COMOX, B.C. – Comox is set to introduce a bylaw that will ban single-use plastics, starting next year.

Last night, Council passed the first three readings of the Single Use Plastic Regulation Bylaw.

Members will vote for final adoption at their next regular meeting on July 3rd.

The bylaw is in step with ones already approved in Courtenay and Cumberland.

Comox Mayor Russ Arnott said the Comox Valley is joining a nation-wide shift towards reducing single plastic bags and straws.

“All of council is behind this and I think we’re following suit with a lot of other communities that are doing the same thing,” Arnott said. “It’s just a different way of doing things, now. There’s a large move afoot of getting away from all the plastics and this is just the start at it.”

Arnott clarified what can and can’t be used, once the bylaw comes into effect.

“This will not impact people when they go into the store and buy bulk items, such as any kind of bulk item that you are going to put into a little plastic bag, those are not banned,” Arnott said. “You go and buy some produce, those plastic bags aren’t banned. It’s just the single-use checkout bags and straws.”

If adopted, it will regulate the business use of single-use plastic bags and straws and will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Under the bylaw, no business may provide a customer with a checkout bag or plastic straw.

A business can provide a checkout bag only if a customer asks for one, and it must be either a paper bag or a reusable bag.

The customer would be charged a fee no less than a quarter for a paper bag and a dollar for a reusable bag.

Businesses would not be permitted to provide a checkout bag free of charge.