Montreal

Huntingdon residents say Montrealers should give plastic bag ban a chance

Most merchants and shoppers in Huntingdon, Que., where a plastic bag ban has been in place for seven years, say Montrealers should also impose a ban.

Quebec town of Huntingdon banned plastic bags 7 years ago

Shops in Huntingdon have been using biodegradable bags for the last seven years, after a plastic bag ban was put in place seven years ago. (CBC)

Montrealers may soon have to start carrying reusable bags with them, as the city considers whether to ban plastic bags.

The city held public consultations, and its environmental committee is recommending that single-use plastic bags be banned by 2018.

Montreal would be the first major Canadian city to implement a ban. But it wouldn't be the first Quebec community to do so.

About an hour east of Montreal, the small town of Huntingdon is home to a few dozen shops. A plastic bag ban has been in place there for seven years. Most merchants and shoppers say Montrealers should give the ban a try.

Guylaine Carrière, owner L'ami du Dollar

"Our bags, the biodegradable ones, are supposed to disintegrate in less than a year,” says Guylaine Carrière, owner L'ami du Dollar. (CBC)

"We were devastated [when the ban came into effect]. We didn't know what was going to happen. But finally we found some biodegradable bags and we've been using them ever since…Our bags, the biodegradable ones, are supposed to disintegrate in less than a year."

France Mallette, manager at Marché Centre-ville de Huntingdon

"If it works here, it’s going to work everywhere,' says France Mallette, manager at Marché Centre-ville de Huntingdon. (CBC)

"It comes pretty naturally. It's easy. Most people bring their own reusable bags. When they have one or two, three things, they just say, 'I don't want a bag.'"

Q: Can it work in Montreal?

"Why not? If it works here, it's going to work everywhere. We don't need bags that we're going to just throw in the garbage. It's pollution. People are going to get used to it quite fast."

Lionel Lefebvre, Huntingdon resident

Huntingdon resident Lionel Lefebvre says a plastic ban ban would be good for Montrealers. "I think it would be a plus for people in Montreal actually. It would clean up the city." (CBC)

I don't miss [plastic bags]. I don't miss them at all. I prefer the paper bags anyways...I carry shopping bags and I think most people around here do the same thing as well. You don't hear anyone crying about it. Hopefully they [ban plastic bags] everywhere. Just look alongside of the roads. It's a lot cleaner. I think it would work [in Montreal]. It would take a bit of time. It's not something that's going to happen overnight because you've got a big city out there. I think it would be a plus for people in Montreal actually. It would clean up the city. They've got enough problems there without having to keep on top of cleaning the city."

Cynthia Davignon, owner at Adventure Hollywood depanneur

"The switch-over to biodegradable is good because it’s healthier for the environment but they’re not as durable as plastic bags," says Cynthia Davignon, owner at Adventure Hollywood dépanneur. (CBC)

[At first we were] in shock but then we found the resource of biodegradable bags, so we brought them in right away. They're not as strong as plastic. The handles break very easily. You can't put as much weight in, so i find we use more biodegradable than plastic because we are constantly doubling up the bags...The switch-over to biodegradable is good because it's healthier for the environment but they're not as durable as plastic bags."

Michel Duhème, assistant manager at Uniprix Huntingdon

"“[The transition] was a little tough for the customer," says Michel Duhème, assistant manager at Uniprix Huntingdon, as he thinks back to the transition period when the ban was first put in place seven years ago. (CBC)

"[The transition] was a little tough for the customer. They don't like the fact that we have paper bags, but we are changing them to the reusable bags. We have our [brand], the Uniprix [brand], and we give boxes out so we accommodate the customer.

Rob Vroom, shopper

"I would hope that Montreal is a progressive enough city in seeing the value in getting rid of plastic bags," says Huntingdon shopper Rob Vroom. (CBC)

"I think [a ban] is a great [idea]. I don't think that there's any need for them. From an environmental standpoint, I feel like we should all be able to use reusable bags and I don't see any need for plastic...I would hope that Montreal is a progressive enough city in seeing the value in getting rid of plastic bags."

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