Joint Press Release
Posted: Mar 11, 2022 | By: Communications
Tofino Becomes First in BC to Ban Single-Use Plastic Utensils
The West Coast is leading the way with action on plastics as Tofino becomes the first municipality in British Columbia to ban single-use plastic utensils, including spoons, forks, knives, chopsticks and stir sticks.
In the fall of 2019, Surfrider Pacific Rim launched the Cut the Cutlery campaign to eliminate plastic and bioplastic cutlery. The campaign focused on building community compliance while working collaboratively with the District of Tofino and the District of Ucluelet to amend existing bylaws to include single-use plastic utensils.
On February 22, 2022, the District of Tofino Council adopted the Single-Use Item Regulation Amendment Bylaw 1277.01, 2022. This amendment added plastic utensils to the already banned single-use items, including polystyrene takeaway containers, plastic straws and checkout bags. The amendment gives businesses a transition period of six months before enforcement of the newly banned items begins on August 22, 2022.
Why did Surfrider focus on cutlery?
- Plastic cutlery cannot be processed at most recycling facilities and therefore ends up in landfills.
- Plastic cutlery is commonly collected during beach and park cleanups.
- Bioplastic cannot be composted on the west coast.
- Studies show that bioplastic does not readily break down in the marine environment and poses similar environmental threats as conventional fossil-based plastics.
Amorita Adair, Chair, Surfrider Pacific Rim
"We’re at a crucial point in history. The planet is beyond its ability to absorb the negative externalities of a linear economic system, and our communities are ready and willing to take more drastic action to curb the plastics crisis. Our vision is to make the West Coast a leader in addressing plastic pollution in Canada, lighting the way for other locales to look to and follow.”
The Single-Use Item Regulation 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.
Tofino Mayor Dan Law
“Banning plastic cutlery is a great step forword in the fight against plastic pollution. I am particularly thankful to Surfrider for their leadership on this critical front, and I am proud that our business community has so enthusiastically endorsed this effort. This is one win in a larger battle, and I look forward to further initiatives to keep our local and regional communities at the forefront in the fight against plastic waste. ”
In September 2021, Surfrider Pacific Rim reported that all 60 Ocean Friendly Businesses in Tofino and Ucluelet supported the ban on plastic utensils, with 44 businesses already in compliance. The District of Tofino will continue to work alongside Surfrider Pacific Rim to provide community awareness, assist businesses in their transitions and offer recommendations on approved alternatives from single-use plastics.
The District of Ucluelet is close behind, with adoption of the amended Single-Use Item Regulation Bylaw anticipated in the coming weeks.
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