Montreal moves to ban plastic bags by 2018

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Montreal to ban plastic bags
WATCH ABOVE: The City of Montreal announced Monday it is moving to ban single-use plastic bags starting Jan. 1, 2018. Global's Nav Pall reports – Feb 22, 2016

MONTREAL – The City of Montreal announced Monday it is moving to ban single-use plastic bags starting Jan. 1, 2018.

It would make Montreal the first major Canadian metropolis to implement such a measure.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre made the announcement alongside Réal Ménard, executive committee member responsible for the environment.

READ MORE: Brossard unanimously adopts bylaw banning plastic bags

“We’re working towards sustainable development and improving the quality of life of Montrealers,” explained Coderre.

“We’re still encouraging people to use reusable bags, or stronger bags, which many people are already doing.”

The decision is a reflection of what Quebecers want and their increased preoccupation with being responsible consumers, he said.

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“We believe that this targeted ban will reinforce the shift toward a greener city while giving the population, businesses and industry a reasonable time to prepare,” Coderre told a news conference.

He explained the city is banning the bags following a recommendation from a municipal committee in December.

READ MORE: Plastic industry wants Brossard to back off proposed shopping bag ban

The decision comes less than a week after the South Shore city of Brossard unanimously voted to ban plastic bags.

The ban applies to lightweight plastic bags used in grocery and retail stores.

“These bags are less than 50 microns and have an impact on our ecosystems because they take a long time to break down,” said Ménard.

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The city is also targeting biodegradable bags because they break up and cause problems for the environment and contain additives that act as a contaminant in the recycling and composting process.

Ménard said certain types of bags would be exempted, such as those used to handle meat, fruits and vegetables, medication or dry cleaning.

READ MORE: Retailers urge Brossard to back down on plastic bag ban

The plastic bag industry has fought back, arguing the bags don’t hurt the environment because 93 per cent of them are recycled.

* with files from The Canadian Press.

WATCH: The city moves to ban plastic bags in Montreal.

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