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

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

COLUMN: Meet Todd Coyne, our new editor

Todd Coyne takes charge of five Black Press newspapers in the West Kootenay

Denesiuk announced as Liberal nominee for South Okanagan-West Kootenay

Connie Denesiuk ran for the first time in 2015, losing to current MP Cannings

Rossland council candidate runs for office from hospital bed

Scott Forsyth suffered a stroke a few days into the 2018 municipal campaign

Kootenay growers call for ban on hemp production in region

Concern that low-THC hemp could spoil outdoor-grown cannabis crop

Video: An up-close look at beluga whales in Hudson Bay

An up-close look as some belugas greet whale watchers off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Private marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

B.C. has approved 62 licences, but they still need local approval

HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls: UBC

Girls are less likely to have sex now than they were a decade ago

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Flash floods kill at least 7 people in southwest France

Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday.

Trump to visit Florida, Georgia; search ongoing for missing

The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17.

Canadians widely unaware of accomplishments of famous women, poll suggests

A new poll suggests Canadians have a lot to learn about the accomplishments of some of the country’s most famous women.

Most Read