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

New apartment building proposed in Tofino

Tim Hackett hopes to build a 32-unit, three-storey apartment building.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation demands transparency from leadership

“Right now there’s a lot of heartache.”

Tofino’s council split on ice rink decision

“I don’t think that’s the highest priority of the dollars that we have for a recreation facility.”

“Intense” storms coming to Tofino and Ucluelet this week

“If you are near the water, it is important to be ‘Coastsmart,’ by staying above the high tide.”

Ucluelet’s indoor market keeps vendors humming through the off-season

“It brings people out, which is great and we showcase different talents, which is great.”

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

Christopher Garnier appealing murder conviction in death of off-duty cop

Jury found Garnier guilty in December, rejecting his claim she died accidentally during rough sex

Transportation watchdog must revisit air passenger obesity complaint

Canadian Transportation Agency must take new look at Gabor Lukacs’ complaint against Delta Air Lines

Gas plants verdict coming down today; ex-premier’s top aides to learn fate

Verdict to be delivered on senior staff to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Jury convicts spear-wielding Duncan man in 2015 Ladysmith RV park murder

Trever George Meers used a handmade spear to stab Rayna Johnson at the Campers Corners RV Park

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Most Read