The city announced Tuesday that its Plastic Checkout Bag Ban Bylaw will be in effect Feb. 1, 2022.
While the rule will apply to plastic bags given to customers at checkout counters, other in-store plastic bags used for items including bulk foods, fruits and vegetables will still be permitted.
The bylaw does not specify alternative options to plastic checkout bags, which allows both businesses and customers to choose their preferred means to carry purchases.
“We are joining municipalities across the country in our move to ban plastic checkout bags and become a more sustainable city,” city councillor Bob Hawkins said in a statement provided by the city on Tuesday.
“Regina residents made it clear that this is the right move. Over 10,000 residents took part in public engagement on this initiative, and 77 per cent indicated that the reduction of single-use plastic items is an important issue to them.”
The city said officials are reaching out to retail businesses across the Queen City to discuss details of the new bylaw.
A new communications kit has been created to help businesses inform customers of the switch.
“We are providing time for plastic bag users to get in the habit of bringing their own reusable bags to stores before the ban takes effect in February,” said Kim Onrait, Regina’s executive director of citizen services.
“By switching to reusable bags or containers, the amount of plastic waste ending up in our landfill, in our recycling processing facility and littered throughout our community will be reduced.”
The ban was supposed to happen in Aug. 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city said.
The bylaw will not be in effect should public health officials deem reusable bags a transmission concern in a health emergency, according to city officials.
More information, including a copy of the new bylaw, can be viewed at the city’s website.