Nfld. & Labrador

Want to use a plastic bag in Pouch Cove? Starting Jan. 1, it'll cost you 5 cents

Town council is distributing reusable bags to residents and imposing a five-cent cost on plastic bags to reduce waste and prepare town for provincewide ban.

Town council distributing reusable bags, imposing a fee for plastic bags in stores

The Town of Pouch Cove hopes that imposing a five-cent fee for single-use plastic bags will reduce waste. (Submitted by Theresa Earle)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has said it plans to ban single-use plastic bags by the middle of 2020, but a town on the tip of the northeast Avalon is getting a head-start.

Come Jan. 1, people in Pouch Cove will find themselves paying five cents a bag in local stores.

"We thought this might be nice, that the province is coming with it, that if Pouch Cove did something, you know, out in front of everybody, it might be recognized and it might draw attention to our little town, because we're at the end of the road," said Coun. Greg King. 

The charge is the work of the town's new economic development committee, which will also be distributing a reusable bag to every household in the town, as well as 300 bags to each of the four main businesses that use bags. 

"Nobody should be without when they go to the store, because they'll have different opportunities," he said. "And if they want to pay the five cents, they can do that, but we're encouraging them to bring along their free recycle bag, and then if they need to, purchase one."

King said with about 860 households in Pouch Cove, the town is giving out about 2,000 bags to start. He said the initiative is costing the town about $2,500.

"When you look at it per household, it's not that much, but it may pay off in the end."

The bags will also include information about town garbage and recycling pickups as well as new recycling rules.

"We're now doing yard waste and everything, so we're going to stuff our bags with things like that that will make people aware of what we're doing in the Town of Pouch Cove."

The town also hopes the plan will reduce the amount of plastic that winds up littering the East Coast Trail.

"You hear from people who walk the trail constantly — they pick it up and put it in garbage cans or recycle it as needed," he said. "When you have such a vast trail within your community, anything you can do to help keep it clean only helps promote your entire community."

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