Effective Canada Day this year, retail establishments will no longer be permitted to distribute plastic bags, the provincial government announced Wednesday,
The ban comes after government amended its Environmental Protection Act last April, which followed consultations in March that yielded more than 3,000 submissions.
In a news release, government says residents, businesses, governments, and organizations have been actively decreasing the amount of plastic waste created by these bags and working to put alternatives in place since the legislation was passed.
“By banning the use of single-use plastic retail bags, we will all be playing a part in protecting the environment and improving the waste management system. I encourage anyone distributing or using these bags to use the time between now and July 1 to start new shopping habits and consider potential alternatives to retail plastic bags," Derrick Bragg, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment stated in a press release.
Not all plastic bags are included in the ban. Plastics used to package fruit, vegetables, candy, grains, nuts and other loose bulk food items are exempt, as are those used for packaged meat, poultry or fish, whether pre-packaged or not.
Other exemptions include bags used to:
- wrap flowers or potted plants;
- protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not pre-packaged
- transport live fish
- protect newspapers or printed material left at a person's residence or place of business
- protect clothes after professional laundering or dry cleaning
- protect used tires taken off vehicles and placed in a person's vehicle
To address the broader category of packaging, the government is continuing to work with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to establish an extended producer responsibility program for the management of packaging and printed paper as a long-term strategy.