Nfld. & Labrador

Retail plastic bags will be banned in N.L. starting July 1

The regulations have a list of exemptions, including bags used to hold meat, fruit and dry cleaning.

Regulations have a list of exemptions, including bags for meat, fruit and dry cleaning

Newfoundland and Labrador will ban retail plastic bags July 1. (Mark Baker/The Canadian Press)

As some businesses and municipalities across the province have already stopped using plastic shopping bags, the provincial government says its official ban comes into effect July 1. 

"By banning the use of single-use plastic retail bags, we will all be playing a part in protecting the environment and improving the waste management system," said Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Derrick Bragg in a press release Wednesday.

"I encourage anyone distributing or using these bags to use the time between now and July 1 to start new shopping habits and consider potential alternatives to retail plastic bags."

The provincial government started drafting regulations to ban stores and businesses from giving out plastic bags back in April, and it said it received more than 3,000 submissions during consultations. 

In its press release, the department said it's working with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to come up with a program to manage packaging and printed paper as a long-term strategy dealing with "the broader category of packaging."

Exemptions to the ban

Under the new regulation banning bags, "plastic retail bag" means a bag made out of plastic, even if it's biodegradable plastic or compostable plastic. Reusable bags will continue to be permitted. 

However, plastic bags used for certain purposes will still be allowed after July 1:

  • Fruit, vegetables, candy, grains, nuts and other loose bulk food items.
     
  • Meat, poultry or fish — whether or not it's pre-packaged.
     
  • Wrap for flowers or potted plants.
     
  • Protecting prepared foods or bakery goods that aren't pre-packaged.
     
  • Transporting live fish.
     
  • Bags commonly known as "Go bags" used to protect newspapers or flyers.
     
  • Protecting clothes after professional laundering or dry cleaning.
     
  • Protecting tires taken off vehicles and placed in a person's vehicle.

The ban does not apply to plastic bags sold in packages of multiple bags for use at home or at businesses, like garbage and recycling bags, and bags for kitchen waste.

Sobeys grocery stores will stop using plastic bags on Jan. 31, and will offer paper bags instead, along with reusable bags for purchase. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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