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Bring your own bag

The ban of single use plastic bags goes into effect on October 1.

PORT AUX BASQUES – Starting on Oct. 1 consumers will have to remember to bring their own bags to stores if they haven’t started already. That’s when the provincial ban on the distribution of retail plastic bags will come into effect. People who choose to bring their own re-usable bags are advised to wash them frequently.

A press release by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Municipalities on Sept. 2 outlined details of the upcoming ban and shared a remark by Minister Derek Bennett.

“Protecting the environment for future generations is a priority for our government. Banning the distribution and use of retail plastic bags protects the environment and improves the waste management system in our province. It is encouraging to see many communities, businesses and residents being proactive and switching to reusable shopping bags. I look forward to this ban being implemented and us all doing our part to reduce plastic waste.”

The move to ban the bags began in April of last year and builds on the province’s ongoing work with the Council on the Zero Plastic Waste Strategy as part of the Ocean Plastics Charter.

At the 2015 and 2017 Annual General Meetings, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) members voted in favour of a provincial ban on single-use plastic bags. In 2019, the ban became official with an expected implementation on July 1, but because of COVID-19 the date was pushed back. Newfoundland and Labrador will be the second province to implement this ban. Prince Edward Island became the first province to institute a ban earlier this year.

When they don’t end up in landfills, single use plastic bags have a tendency to get blown around by the wind, often ending up alongside trails or polluting oceans, which can harm or even kill sea life. This also renders provincial parks and private lands unattractive.

In its own release, MNL expressed strong support for the ban.

“This is a win for the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. MNL advocated on this issue for years, and we are beyond thrilled to see our efforts come to fruition,” said President Sheila Fitzgerald.

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