Phase one of Nanaimo’s bylaw banning plastic checkout bags is now in effect. The bylaw encourages the use of reusable bags by eliminating use of plastic bags and sets fees for paper bags and new reusable bags.

As a public service, the Nanaimo Beacon has prepared this handy guide to what’s allowed and what’s not.

What’s Not OkayWhat’s Still Totally Okay
Plastic grocery bagsUnlimited use of disposable plastic produce bags for holding produce
Clamshell hard-plastic case for butter lettuce
Plastic bags for bulk grocery items
Those styrofoam “jackets” for Japanese pears
Wrapping individual mandarin oranges in dyed paper
Individual plastic bottles containing tap water
Fruit cut into cubes and sold in disposable plastic containers
Individual hamburger patties wrapped in plastic in a styrofoam holder
Two corn-on-the-cobs individually shrink-wrapped in plastic
Baby carrots in plastic bags
Baby potatoes in plastic bags
Ready-made dinners packaged in non-recyclable black plastic containers
Child lunchable “snacks” packaged in both hard and soft disposible plastic
Individually packaged yogurt in plastic containers
Separate Keurig coffee pods made from hard plastic and alumimum
Disposable plastic picnic cutlery
Red, yellow, and green peppers held by a styrofoam container and wrapped in plastic
Sushi packaged in a black clamshell disposable plastic container
…and 487 other forms of plastic still perfectly fine to use

Nanaimo’s new bylaw says paper bags need to contain at least 40% post-consumer recycled content and be labelled as recyclable. Reusable bags for sale should be washable and capable of at least 100 uses.

Here is a handy visual reference, in case you’re still confused about what’s okay and what’s not:

Still Totally Okay:

Still Totally Okay:

Still Totally Okay:

Still Totally Okay:

This is only Phase 1 of Nanaimo’s grocery bag bylaw.

In an effort to reduce the use of multi-use grocery carry-bags (which sea turtles melt down and use for poker chips), the City will eliminate the use of those bags, return to single-use plastic, and make each bag look like it came from a porn store:

Small print at the bottom of each bag reads “Avoid the shame. Bring a reusable bag.”

It is unclear what the City’s intention is, given that Phase 2, which takes effect next month, bans the use of reusable bags.