Montreal announces ban on single-use plastics in retail, restaurants

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced the city's plan to ban the use of single-use plastics in the retail and restaurant sectors, with some rules taking effect as early as next August.

Plan is the best of its kind in North America, mayor says

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante called the city's plan to ban single-use plastics the most ambitious of its kind in North America. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Mayor Valérie Plante has announced a plan to ban single-use plastics as part of the City of Montreal's plan to reach zero waste by 2030.

Under the change, single-use plastic shopping bags in retail stores will no longer be allowed starting Aug. 23, 2022.

Several other plastic items used in retail as well as restaurants will also be a thing of the past in March 2023.

That means, for example, plates, containers and trays made of polystyrene will be banned, same for plastic cups, utensils, straws and stir sticks. 

The announcement comes only months ahead of the Nov. 4 municipal election, in which Plante will take on former mayor Denis Coderre, Balarama Holness and Marc-Antoine Desjardins.

Plante touted the plan as the most ambitious ban on single-use plastics in North America.

"Montreal decided not to wait after other levels of government," said Plante. "We saw what was being done elsewhere, but we think our plan is the best."

According to the city, the landfill located in Terrebonne, Que., — which serves the 82 municipalities included in the Montreal Metropolitan Community —  will be full by 2029 if the use of plastics is not significantly reduced. 

"So what do we do?" said Plante. "Well, the solution, one of the solutions, the one we favour in Montreal is to reduce at the source."

There are several exceptions to the bylaws, however, including polystyrene trays used to package meat and fish, single-use plastic items used by non-profit organizations who distribute food, as well as establishments who only do delivery. 

With the bylaws coming into effect in 12 and 18 months respectively, Plante says businesses will have time to adjust, and entrepreneurs will have opportunities to help fill the void left by plastic products.

During the announcement, the mayor was accompanied by Jean-François Parenteau and Laurence Lavigne Lalonde — two members of the city's executive committee who handle the environment file.


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