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Single Use Item Regulation Bylaw – Frequently Asked Questions

This page was last reviewed on July 9, 2019.

1. What is the Single Use Items Regulation Bylaw?

Through this bylaw, The Village of Cumberland is asking local businesses and consumers to join the world-wide movement of decreasing the reliance on, and demand for use of single use plastic items. Taking a phased approach, the Village is using the bylaw to regulate the use of single use plastic checkout bags and plastic drinking straws provided by local businesses. 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. Single use plastics are exempt from the regulation when used to:

  • package loose bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, and candy
  • package loose small hardware items such as nails and bolts
  • contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, poultry, or fish, whether pre-packaged or not
  • wrap flowers or potted plants
  • protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not pre-packaged
  • contain prescription drugs received from a pharmacy
  • transport live fish
  • protect linens, bedding, or other similar large items that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag
  • protect newspapers or other printed material intended to be left at the customer’s residence or place of business, and
  • protect clothes after professional laundering or dry cleaning.

Other products not affected include pre-packaged bags or straws sold in multiples and intended for use in the customer’s home and paper or reusable bags previously used by a customer and returned to the store for reuse.

In the longer-term, the Single use Item Regulation Bylaw is also intended to incorporate and regulate the use of other single use plastic items in the community. Over time, and in further discussion with the local business community, the Village will seek to identify other single use plastics (i.e plastic utensils, cups and lids, Styrofoam and plastic packaging) that can be subject to the Single Use Item Regulation Bylaw.

2. When does the Single Use Item Regulation Bylaw take effect?

The bylaw is effective July 1, 2019 but provides time for a public advisory campaign over the next six months. This will allow local businesses time to source alternative products, exhaust existing inventories and provide residents time to transition to reusable shopping containers prior to bylaw enforcement begins in January, 2020.

3. Where will the bylaw be implemented?

At the till, businesses will be not be permitted to provide single use plastic checkout bags or straws to their customers. Non-plastic and/or reusable bags and straws can be provided at a cost to be determined by each business. These fees are to be retained by the retailer to offset the cost of providing paper or reusable bags.

4. Why has the Village regulated single use plastics?

In July 2018, Cumberland Council requested staff to report on the regulation of single use plastics in the Village of Cumberland as part of their endorsement of Member of Parliament (MP) Gord Johns’ private members motion (M-151, National strategy to combat plastic pollution).

There is growing recognition, signified by increasing presence of plastics in the environment that public consumption patterns must evolve quickly towards a more responsible model of resource use. Through the entire lifecycle of plastic, be it through single use products or disposable plastic packaging, plastics unnecessarily consume resources, and release harmful greenhouses gases and other toxins within their extraction, processing and manufacturing process. Following their brief use, much of this waste finds its way back into the natural environment as litter or trash that must be treated.

View the Single-Use Item Regulation Bylaw.

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