B.C. Liquor Stores planning switch to paper bags province-wide by late fall

Global News

Those thick plastic bags from B.C. government liquor stores are about to become a thing of the past.

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is planning to switch to paper bags at all of its 197 stores across the province, according to a request for proposal (RFP) submitted Aug. 2.

If all goes to plan, paper bags could start getting phased into stores by the late fall.

READ MORE: B.C. government seeks public input on plastics ban, reduction strategies

The LDB is looking for suppliers that can handle the demand for an average of 2,000 bags per store every week.

That estimate is based of data collected from stores in Victoria, Tofino, Ucluelet, Salmon Arm and Cumberland, which have already made the switch to plastic bags.

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“The response from customers has been very positive,” LDB spokesperson Viviana Zanocco said in an email Thursday.

Paper bags as seen in BC Liquor Stores in Victoria, Tofino, Ucluelet, Salmon Arm and Cumberland. BC Liquor Distribution Branch

The bags will have to contain a minimum of 40 per cent recyclable materials, be 100 per cent recyclable or compostable, and be able to carry a minimum of 7.5 kilograms without breaking.

Zanocco said that weight is equivalent to six bottles of wine, or a six-pack of beer and two bottles of wine.

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Vancouver store hands out ’embarrassing’ plastic bags – Jun 5, 2019

The size of the bags is set in stone: roughly 17 inches in height, nearly 10 inches in width and six inches in depth.

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The plan indicates that the LDB wants to move ahead of a number of approved and proposed bans on plastic bags in municipalities across B.C.

Bans are already in place in Tofino, Ucluelet and Salmon Arm. Victoria passed its own plastics ban last year, which was recently overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal over a lack of provincial approval.

READ MORE: City of Vancouver wants to know if you want plastic bags to be banned

Vancouver, Surrey and New Westminster are at various stages of putting their own bans in place, while the provincial government recently launched public consultation that could inform a province-wide ban.

The LDB notes the start date could change, depending on how quickly it can secure a supplier and make this happen.

Responses to the request are due by Aug. 30.

Global News has reached out to the LDB for further comment.