Montreal recommends plastic bag ban by 2018

MONTREAL – The City of Montreal’s environmental commission is recommending a ban on plastic bags.

The commission made 12 recommendations on Tuesday.

One of these is to ban single-use plastic bags starting on Earth Day, April 22, 2018; another is to continue to encourage people to opt for reusable bags, bottles, utensils etc.

The city also stated it will work with the Quebec government to establish industry norms; bags will still be available for food, medication and dry cleaning.

“We are not happy with this recommendation,” said François Vincent, Director of provincial affairs with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“We’re going to ban [plastic bags] in the retail sector and it can have a bad impact on their business affairs.”
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READ MORE: Montreal launches public consultation on plastic bag ban

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Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre asked for the ban back in March, citing environmental concerns as plastic bags can take over 400 years to decompose in landfills.

Over the years, grocery stores started charging a fee: 5 cents a bag for those who forgot their reusable bags at home.

The measure has been considered effective, cutting the annual use of plastic bags in half, from over two billion bags a year to one billion.

WATCH: No more plastic bags

Other places, like the SAQ, have already completely done away with single-use bags.

Vincent insisted the city should focus on what happens to the bags after they’re taken home.

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“We thought it was possible to achieve the same goal by changing [how citizens think about] what they are going to do with the bags,” he said.

READ MORE: Montreal mayor Denis Coderre wants to end plastic bag use

If the recommendation passes, Montreal will become the first major city in Canada to ban plastic bags.

In Toronto, a city council vote to ban all single-use plastic bags in 2013 was rejected because of legal threats from the plastics industry.

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