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Plastic Recycling January 02, 2018 02:30:54 PM

Montreal's Plastic Bag Ban Comes Into Effect on New Year's Day 2018

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
The merchants will have time until June 5, 2018 to comply with the ban, after which they could face fines.
Montreal's Plastic Bag Ban Comes Into Effect on New Year's Day 2018

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): Montreal has become the first major Canadian city to implement ban on plastic shopping bags. The much anticipated plastic bag ban has come into effect on Jan 1, 2018, which will be applicable to merchants offering light plastic bags to consumers. The merchants will have time until June 5, 2018 to comply with the ban, after which they could face fines.

The ban was originally announced in February 216 by the then mayor Denis Coderre. The city had adopted the by-law 16-051 that prohibits the distribution of certain types of plastic shopping bags. The ban will be applicable for conventional plastic shopping bags having a thickness of less than 50 microns. It also bans distribution of oxo-degradable, oxo-fragmentable, and biodegradable shopping bags of all thicknesses by retail establishments. Meantime, the city has exempted thin bags that are used to transport fruit and vegetables to the cash register and those bags that are used to wrap up meat.

According to city administration, lost or abandoned plastic bags cause potential threat to terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Moreover, the bags that end up in landfills also lead to serious environmental issues as they take several hundred years to decompose. The ban is implemented with the aim of encouraging reduction at source. Further, it also aims to promote use of reusable containers and bags, the city officials noted.

As per provisions of the law, any individual or corporation found violating the rules after the grace period will be fined. Individuals could face a fine of $200 to $1,000 for a first offence. Any subsequent offence will result in a fine of $300 to $2,000. Corporations will face a fine of $400 to $2,000 for a first offence. Also, corporations are liable to fine of $500 to $4,000 for any subsequent offence.

Retail industry and plastic trade associations have raised opposition to the ban, saying that it causes unnecessary troubles for businesses and consumers. The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) noted that the ban is not at all necessary, as most shopping bags are reused and recycled. Further, it urges the administration to seek alternative ways to reduce the number of plastic bags rather than implementing a ban on them. However, environmentalist groups have extended support to the ban.

Sources indicate that various other Canadian cities are likely to follow suit. Victoria aims to ban plastic bags by July this year. The ban is under consideration in Vancouver too.

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