The District of Tofino, BC, has become the first municipality in the province to ban all single-use plastic utensils.
The district had already banned plastic bags, straws and polystyrene takeout containers, but a bylaw amendment adopted last month added all plastic cutlery to the ban.
Enforcement of the plastic ban will take effect on Aug. 22, giving businesses several months to make the transition to environmentally friendly utensils.
Tofino made the decision after consultations with environmental foundation Surfrider Pacific Rim, whose chairperson applauded the plastic ban in a statement last week.
“We’re at a crucial point in history,” said Amorita Adair.
“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,” she added. “Our vision is to make the West Coast a leader in addressing plastic pollution in Canada, lighting the way for other locals to look to and follow.”
Plastic cutlery cannot be processed at most recycling facilities and is commonly collected during local beach cleanups, according to the municipality.
Tofino Mayor Dan Law called the ban a “great step forward in the fight against plastic pollution,” saying the move was enthusiastically endorsed by the local business community.
Surfrider Pacific Rim says the neighboring District of Ucluelet is expected to adopt its own single-use plastic cutlery ban in the coming weeks.
A Surfrider report last September found that 60 businesses in Tofino and Ucluelet supported a ban on plastic utensils, with 44 of those businesses already in compliance with a potential prohibition.