VANCOUVER - BC Liquor Stores will soon no longer be packaging customers' purchases in plastic bags.

The government announced on Thursday that the provincial liquor stores will start transitioning to paper bags at its 197 locations starting this month.

In a news conference, Attorney General David Eby said BC Liquor Stores distributed 22 million plastic bags to consumers in 2018.

"That's over 60,000 plastic bags every day," said Eby. "While we certainly know that some consumers find multiple uses for these bags, we also know that a lot of them end up in either landfills or in the forests and waterways of our province."

Eby emphasized that BC Liquor Stores are not the only ones contributing to the volume of plastic used in the province but said they have a history of being "environmental stewards."

The ultimate goal of the program is to get customers to bring their own reusable bags.

The paper bags will be supplied by Richmond-based company Bulldog Bag Ltd. and will contain a minimum of 40 per cent post-consumer recycled content. They will also be recyclable and compostable. The bags will be strong enough to hold 7.5 kilograms—which is the equivalent of six bottles of wine or a six-pack of beer and two bottles of wine.

"This effort to switch to paper from plastic is a big step toward protecting the environment and fits in well with our efforts through the National Zero Waste Council to advance waste prevention," said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie in a statement.

Shoppers will be charged 10 cents per paper bag at BC Liquor Stores unless there are municipal bylaws in place that state otherwise.

Liquor stores on Vancouver Island will make the transition first, on Nov. 25. Metro Vancouver will make the switch on Feb. 3, 2020, and the rest of the province will follow suit in early March.

The City of Vancouver announced this week that starting on Jan. 1, 2020, businesses will no longer be able to serve prepared food or drinks in polystyrene cups and takeout containers.

In July of this year, the City of Victoria's bylaw banning the use of single-use plastic bags was struck down by the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The ruling said that since the bylaw was implemented with the goal of helping the environment, the city should have received consent from the province's environment ministry. But since the city didn't receive that consent, the bylaw was struck down.