Top News

Ban of single-use plastic bags now legislation in P.E.I.

Montague-Kilmuir MLA Allen Roach holds a copy of the bill passed Friday that would ban single-use plastic bags. With its passing, the Island becomes the first province to legislate a ban on plastic bags.
Montague-Kilmuir MLA Allen Roach holds a copy of the bill passed Friday that would ban single-use plastic bags. With its passing, the Island becomes the first province to legislate a ban on plastic bags. - Stu Neatby

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A private members bill banning single-use plastic bags passed third reading Friday morning.

The legislation began as a private member's bill introduced by Liberal MLA Allen Roach. The legislation would prevent retailers from providing single-use plastic bags to customers. Retailers would be permitted to sell either paper or a reusable bag.

The new legislation would make P.E.I. the first province in Canada to prohibit the plastic item. The ban would apply exclusively to single-use plastic shopping bags. It requires only royal assent to become law in P.E.I.

“It’s been a concern for me personally for a long time,” Roach said after the passage of the bill.

Roach said he first became concerned about the issue of plastic contamination in oceans more than 20 years ago, after observing a plastic bag that had damaged a water intake mechanism on a friend’s boat.

Related: MLA wants ban against plastic checkout bags on P.E.I.

Related: MLAs support plastic bag ban

Plastic waste has been doing significant, possibly irreparable damage to marine life in oceans.

“The harm that’s being caused is incredible,” Roach said. “We have over 100,000 big mammals that die every year – that’s whales, sharks, dolphins. We have millions of fish that die every year because of these plastic bags.”

The law would be implemented gradually, starting with a fee of 15 cents per bag starting July 1, 2018. The fee would increase to 25 cents per bag on July 1, 2019. As of Jan. 1, 2020, businesses could face fines for distributing free, single-use plastic bags to customers. As of that date, stores can only sell reusable or paper bags. 

Roach said he has received overwhelmingly positive feedback as a result of the new law, particularly from children and youth.

“I got a message from a little girl up in Cape Traverse,” Roach said.

“She asked her Dad if they could go down to the shore after supper to pick up some plastic bags.”

“That’s a new generation that’s coming along. It’s something we have to address.”

Twitter.com/stu_neatby

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was clarified to reflect the fact that stores will not be able sell customers plastic bags after Jan. 1, 2020. 


On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend The Guardian?


Recent Stories