Happy New Year! I trust you enjoyed a break from the daily grind to vacation elsewhere or spend time with loved ones over the holidays, and that you’re looking forward with great anticipation to what 2023 will bring.
The week before Christmas I shovelled aside a mountain of snow at the end of my driveway to find a spot for a bin of compostable materials, as well as another bin of recyclables to be picked up by one of the city’s waste management trucks. Alas, it never came. Seems the amount of snow was too much for even large, heavy vehicles to negotiate.
Two weeks hence, after jamming every last piece of cardboard, paper and plastic left over from the holidays that I could fit into an overflowing recycling bin, I again shunted it to the curb for pick-up, even more mindful of what it contained given new federal regulations now in effect.
In case you are not aware, the Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations (SUPPR) are part of the federal government’s plan to address pollution, meet its target of zero plastic waste by 2030, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The new regs prohibit the manufacture, import and sale of single-use plastic checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws. It is important to note that there are some exceptions to the rules, as well as a staggered timeline over the next 42 months for various stages of implementation.
From a tourism and hospitality perspective, the new regulations require attention, particularly for restaurants, bars, and other businesses with food service operations. As my colleague Mark von Schellwitz of Restaurants Canada explained to CTV news earlier this week…because the consumer appetite for takeout and delivery has increased (particularly since the start of the pandemic) and is unlikely to regress, so too has the need for items like plastic spoons, knives and forks.
Although the restaurant industry is completely aligned with and supports the goal to reduce waste from single-use plastic items, efforts must be balanced against safe, affordable, and available alternatives, not to mention consistent standards for waste management practices in communities across British Columbia and Canada…something that by and large does not exist at present.
You may recall that TIABC delivered a series of recommendations last July as part of the province’s consultation on preventing plastic and single-use waste in BC (a copy of the submission can be found on our website)…many of which align with those of Restaurants Canada and other industry sectors. Suffice it to say, a sufficient adjustment period beyond the protracted implementation of the new federal regs may still be necessary for some tourism and hospitality businesses to further help with recovery, among other reasons.
Another regulation in place as of January 1st is the federal government’s two-year ban on foreign ownership of residential dwellings in order to put the brakes on Canada’s frenzied housing market where limited supply, bidding wars, and other factors contributed to skyrocketing costs…save for recent months where higher interest rates have cooled things down somewhat.
Although recreational properties like cottages are exempted from the ban, as are communities with a population of less than 10,000, there are still many nuances within the regulations to cause uncertainty and directly impact the sale of vacation homes in ski resorts by way of example.
To be sure, there are many other regulations, new pieces of legislation, or consultation processes to be introduced this year that TIABC and/or our sector partners will respond to. Case in point, the province is taking an in-depth look at how to ensure gig work (i.e. income-earning activity outside conventional long-term employment relationships such as ride-hailing or food-delivery apps) is fair for workers and sustainable for businesses. There are others listed below.
While a series of round-table discussions on this issue were held in November and December around BC, an online questionnaire has been open to residents for a number of weeks. Note…the deadline for response is 4pm TODAY so please take a few minutes to respond pronto HERE.
Now that my garbage, compost, and recycling bins are all virtually empty, my task to conclude the first week of the new year is to box up old Christmas decorations, clothes I no longer wear, and impractical household items gathering dust in my garage to drop off at the local thrift store. Staying true to the old adage that one person’s trash is another person’s treasurer, I am confident these items will be recycled and put to good use by someone else instead of being thrown in a bin for pick-up by a late waste management truck destined for the landfill.