Plastics industry presses Denis Coderre on bag ban

Representatives of the plastics industry met this morning with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre to discuss his plan to ban single-use plastic bags by Jan. 1, 2018.

Industry rep calls ban on plastic bags 'really bad environmental policy'

Montreal's plastic bag ban is to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. (Ross William Hamilton, The Oregonian/AP)

Plastics industry representatives are hoping to convince Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre that his plan to ban single-use plastic bags by Jan. 1, 2018, is a bad idea.

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association met with Coderre on Thursday.

Joe Hruska, a sustainability consultant for the CPIA, called the ban "really bad environmental policy" and said the meeting would be the industry's first opportunity to make its case to Coderre.

"This is still not law in Montreal and we do have a chance to inform and educate the city and hopefully get them to change their position on this," he said.

Montreal's ban applies to lightweight plastic shopping bags, specifically ones that are less than 50 microns (or 0.05 millimetres) thick, as well as bags that are oxo-degradable, oxo-fragmentable, oxo-biodegradable and biodegradable.

​Certain bags are exempt from the ban for hygienic reasons, such as small plastic bags used for fresh vegetables or medication.

Ban bad for environment, plastics lobby group says

Coderre's ban announcement came after the city's environmental committee recommended banning the bags in December.

Hruska said rather than reducing the amount of plastic in the environment, Montreal's ban will have the opposite effect.

He says the bags that Montreal wants to prohibit are re-used for a variety of household purposes like waste disposal and the ban will force Montrealers go out and buy thicker plastic bags like kitchen catchers.

"You will not get rid of plastic bags," Hruska said. "You're going to end up with more plastic in the system."

City satisfied with meeting

Catherine Maurice, a spokesperson for the city, said the meeting was positive. 

"We agreed to keep in touch and continue exchanges with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association," Maurice said, adding that the group will be involved in future talks about the ban.

The group representing the plastic industry will have a seat on the working group responsible for developing an action plan on how to implement the ban, she said.

"What has been agreed is that the association will participate in the CMM (Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal) working group, which is made up of representatives of the CMM and the municipalities," she said.

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