Environment & Sustainability

Be the solution

The District of Tofino recognizes the changing nature of our community and the opportunities and challenges we will be facing in the future. As a society, we have learned over the years that the accumulated impacts of human activity over the past two centuries are now threatening the continued well-being of our planet and life on it.

Tofino's Sustainability Objectives

Tofino’s sustainability objectives are to reduce and eventually eliminate our contribution to:

Socio-cultural and economic conditions that undermine people’s ability to meet their basic needs.

This generally means favouring activities that support:

  • Safe, vibrant working and living conditions
  • Inclusive and transparent decision making
  • Political freedoms
  • Affordable products and services; sufficient resources for livelihood

 

The ongoing physical degradation of nature.

This generally means favouring activities that support:

  • Materials and energy from well-managed ecosystems
  • Re-usable, recyclable, and recycled content
  • Fast-growing crops (bamboo, etc.)
  • Use of previously developed lands

 

The ongoing build-up of synthetic materials produced by society.

This generally means favouring activities that support:

  • Natural, biodegradable materials (glass, wood, cotton, water-based etc.)
  • Materials that are managed in tight technical cycles
  • Organically grown, untreated
  • Re-usable, recyclable, and recycled content materials

 

The ongoing build-up of materials extracted from the earth’s crust.

This generally means favouring activities that support:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy
  • Metals that are plentiful (aluminum, iron, etc.)
  • Recycled content materials
  • Natural, biodegradable materials
  • Materials that are managed in tight technical cycles
  • Re-usable, recyclable materials

Reduce Your Emissions

Using a modern, clean-burning, wood heating appliance and basic clean-burning practices can reduce but not eliminate smoke emissions from wood heating.

Learn how we're keeping our air clean

Reducing single-use plastics

In 2022, Tofino became the first municipality in British Columbia to ban single-use plastic utensils, including spoons, forks, knives, chopsticks and stir sticks. This amendment added plastic utensils to the already banned single-use items, including polystyrene takeaway containers, plastic straws and checkout bags.

The Single-Use Item Regulation Amendment Bylaw aims to reduce single-use plastic waste in our communities, landfill, and marine environment and mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic production and usage.

Water fountain at the Village Green.

Why is reducing the number of single-use items important?

  • The average Canadian uses between 200-300 bags each year.  Similarly, approximately 57 million straws are used in Canada every day - which either end up in municipal waste streams or as litter in public places and the environment.
  • Each year, at least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean - which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute.
  • Around the world, plastic bags are consistently listed as a top ten item found littered on beaches.
  • By reducing the creation of waste from single-use items and the associated municipal costs, the District of Tofino will be able to better steward municipal property, including sewers, streets, parks, beaches, and waterways.

Take Back the Tap

As part of Surfrider Pacific Rim's campaign residents and visitors are encouraged to refill your reusable bottle with fresh, delicious, safe drinking water from one of the free water dispensers in Pacific Rim. Learn more about the Take Back the Tap Campaign.

Will you take the #5MinuteBeachClean challenge?

The District of Tofino in partnership with Surfrider Pacific Rim and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks launched the 5 Minute Beach Clean Challenge to help encourage beach stewardship by cleaning as you go.

It only takes a few simple steps!

  • Collect

    Collect marine debris or litter, spend five minutes picking up as much debris as you can find.

  • Capture

    Post a photo to Instagram or Twitter and hashtag #Surfrider #5minutebeachclean to encourage others to do the same!

  • Dispose

    Bring the items to the nearest waste disposal station. If the beach doesn’t have a garbage or recycling bin, you can take the items home for disposal.

Plastic bottle left on the beach
Clean Air

Keeping our air clean

Beach fires have long been a part of Tofino’s culture, but the impacts associated with an increase in fires have posed real challenges to our community’s wellbeing.

Restrictions are now in place providing a compromise that allows beach fires to continue while working to limit the environmental impacts.

Beach/Camp Fires are only permitted on Mackenzie and Chesterman Beaches between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. and must be contained in a Clean Burning or Reduced Smoke Fire Appliance.

 

What is a Clean Burning or Reduced Smoke Fire Appliance and how does it reduce environmental impact?

A clean burning or reduced smoke fire appliance:

  • Uses propane or dry firewood
  • Is raised off the ground
  • Allows air to be introduced either mechanically or through ventilation openings

Using a Clean Burning or Reduce Smoke Fire Appliance can reduce smoke emissions from burning wood.

For full details of outdoor burning restrictions view the Outdoor Burning Bylaw.