Nova Scotia

Province could push ban on single-use plastic bags past October deadline

Environment Minister Gordon Wilson said he's waiting for guidance from Public Health officials before proceeding with planned Oct. 31 ban.

Environment minister waiting for guidance from Public Health

Sobeys removed single-use plastic bags from its stores Jan. 31, 2020. (Ken Linton/CBC)

Nova Scotia's environment minister is considering pushing back the date to ban single-use plastic bags in Nova Scotia.

Prior to the onset of COVID-19, Nova Scotia was set to ban single-use plastic bags at the end of October. That would mean businesses would no longer be able to provide single-use plastic shopping bags at the checkout. 

But, on Thursday, Gordon Wilson told reporters he's waiting to hear back from Public Health officials to see if proceeding with the ban as scheduled is the right call.

"We do understand that there is some emerging science around reusable bags that's starting to show up that potentially might have some concern," Wilson said.

He said there would be guidance from Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, before a decision was made.

Wilson said he expects to hear back on what to do next in the coming weeks.

Nova Scotia Environment Minister Gordon Wilson speaks with reporters on Thursday. (CBC)

He said the top consideration is whether the latest science shows COVID-19 could be transmitted through reusable bags.

The province is also speaking with officials in P.E.I. to see how its single-use plastic bag ban is faring amid the pandemic, Wilson said. P.E.I. banned single-use plastic bags in 2019.

In April, Newfoundland and Labrador announced it would be banning single-use plastic bags July 1. But in April, the province pushed the date back to Oct. 1 because of COVID-19.

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