A woman leaves a grocery store Friday, May 15, 2015 in Montreal. FILE PHOTO.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Montreal’s citywide plastic bag ban starts now

Montreal’s citywide ban on plastic shopping bags comes into effect Jan. 1, 2018

Montreal implemented its long-planned ban on plastic bags on Monday, making it the first major Canadian city to do so.

The ban covers the distribution of lightweight plastic bags with a thickness of less than 50 microns as well as biodegradable bags, which contain an additive that causes them to decompose in heat and light.

There is an exception for the thin bags that are used in grocery stores to transport fruit and vegetables to the cash register or to wrap up meat.

City officials say lost or abandoned plastic bags are a visual nuisance that cause considerable harm to terrestrial and marine ecosystems and often end up in landfills.

“We use roughly 2 billion of these bags annually and only 14 per cent are reintegrated in recycling plants,” said Jean-Francois Parenteau, the city council member responsible for the environment.

Former mayor Denis Coderre announced the ban in February 2016, and city council adopted the resolution in August.

Parenteau said that has given merchants plenty of time to prepare.

“As (they knew) the regulation was coming, the bag orders in big chains were already made for some time, so they are ready to respond on Jan. 1,” he said in a recent phone interview.

City officials say the ban is intended to encourage people to move away from single-use products and to adopt reuseable bags.

Thicker plastic bags, paper bags and cardboard boxes will also be allowed.

While the measure comes into effect on New Year’s Day, merchants have a six-month grace period to comply with the new rules.

After June 5, they could face fines of up to $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a corporation for a first offence.

Victoria has also announced its intention to ban plastic bags beginning in July 2018, while Vancouver is mulling the issue.

Several smaller Canadian municipalities have also imposed their own bans, while Toronto tried and failed to do so in 2012.

Retail and plastic industry advocates have opposed the bans, arguing they are unnecessary as well as troublesome for businesses and consumers.

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association’s website argues that most shopping bags are reused and recycled, and that other measures to reduce the number of plastic bags have already been successful.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two Nuxalk artists awarded YVR Art Foundation scholarships

Several Nuxalk artists have won the award, some more than once

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Concerns over democracy as Senate committee votes to nix oil tanker ban

Critics of the Senate’s recommendation to kill Bill C-48 say it goes against popular will

Open casting call issued for Trevor Mack’s first feature-length film

All Indigenous actors, preferably local Chilcotin people, are needed for Portraits From A Fire’s cast

New ferry to B.C.’s central coast sets sail, a year late and $20M over budget

Northern Sea Wolf will cost $76 million when it hits the waters in June

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Terrace hospital’s business plan approved

Health Minister’s announcement opens door to construction phase

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Most Read