No more plastic bags in Montreal

As of Tuesday, merchants will no longer be able to offer plastic bags to their customers given the entry into force of a regulation adopted a year ago by the municipal council.

Since 1er January 2018, plastic bags with a thickness of less than 50 microns as well as oxodegradable bags were already banned in Montreal. But the Plante administration had decided to go further and, in 2021, it passed a new regulation to banish all shopping bags, regardless of their thickness.

Thus, in the 19 boroughs of Montreal, retail businesses and restaurants will have to stop giving plastic bags to their customers, even for take-out meals and home deliveries.

Only bags used for foodstuffs such as fruit, nuts, meat and fish will be allowed, as well as recyclable paper bags.

The City claims that only 16% of plastic bags are recovered. The others end up in the environment and can take up to 1000 years to break down. Released in nature, plastic bags have an impact on terrestrial and marine ecosystems. They also contaminate the bales of paper in the sorting centres.

Remember that the metropolis aims to become a zero waste city by 2030 and advocates reduction at source to achieve this. The City therefore encourages Montrealers to bring reusable bags when shopping.

Enforcement of the shopping bag bylaw will be the responsibility of the boroughs, and fines ranging from $400 to $4,000 could be issued to merchants who do not comply.

« We have a responsibility to take concrete and courageous decisions to deal with the climate crisis, now, » said Valérie Plante in a press release. “As Montreal prepares to host COP15 on biodiversity, this gesture will allow us to better protect our natural environments. »

The City will soon launch a communication campaign with the slogan « On n’a qu’une ville à vivre » to encourage Montrealers to take action that promotes reduction at source, reuse and recovery.

Another City by-law, which is to come into force on 1er March 2023, will ban eight other single-use plastic items, compostable or not, including straws, plates, glasses, stirrers and utensils.

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