Nova Scotia

Should Halifax ban plastic shopping bags? Councillor wants staff to study issue

Coun. Tony Mancini plans to ask municipal staff to study the idea of a plastic bag ban.

Coun. Tony Mancini floats idea used in Montreal and other centres

Coun. Tony Mancini says he doesn't want a ban on plastic bags to burden small business owners, which is why he's asking for a report. (CBC)

A Halifax councillor wants to know if plastic shopping bags should be banned or reduced throughout the municipality.

Harbourview-Burnside-Dartmouth Coun. Tony Mancini plans to ask municipal staff to study the idea at Thursday's meeting of the environment and sustainability committee.

He points out that Montreal has had limits in place and will implement a complete ban on Jan. 1, 2018.

"It's just a staff report to look into it," Mancini said. "What can be done? What's the research tell us? What's the evidence tell us? And is this something we want to do?"

Bags in the water

Mancini said even though plastic bags are recyclable, many of them end up in the municipality's waterways as litter. 

"When I talk to people that do the cleanups on the shores they see lots of these plastic bags," he said. "So even though we can recycle them, and that's the responsible thing to do, it still seems to be an issue."

Mancini said he doesn't want a ban on plastic bags to burden small business owners, which is why he's planning to ask for the report.

He said if a ban did happen, it would be brought in gradually.

7 bans in place

At least seven other Canadian municipalities ban single-use plastic bags:

  • Leaf Rapids, Man.
  • Thompson, Man.
  • Wood Buffalo Regional Municipality, Alta.
  • Huntingdon, Que.
  • Deux-Montagnes, Que.
  • Brossard, Que. 
  • Montreal

In Montreal, consumers and the retail industry will have had nearly two years to adjust by the time the complete ban kicks in. 

The ban applies to lightweight plastic shopping bags, as well as bags that are oxo-degradable, oxo-fragmentable, oxo-biodegradable and biodegradable.

​Certain bags are exempt from the ban for hygienic reasons, such as small plastic bags used for fresh vegetables or medication.

With files from CBC Montreal

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