PEI

Plastic bag ban a relief for Island Waste Management

The head of the Island Waste Management Corporation is happy that legislation to ban single-use plastic bags passed third, and final reading.

The company processes millions of single-use plastic bags a year

The CEO of Island Waste Management says it receives 'millions' of plastic bags every year and is happy there will be a ban of single-use plastic bags in July 2019. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The head of the Island Waste Management Corporation (IWMC) is happy that legislation to ban single-use plastic bags has passed third, and final reading.

"Any time you can reduce the amount of waste that's generated is a good thing," said Gerry Moore.

Moore said the corporation receives "a significant amount" of single-use plastic bags during its collections.

"Basically one tractor-trailer load a month ... leaves the province," he said. 

'Millions of bags'

The ban — which goes into effect in July 2019, with further legislation coming into place in 2020 — will focus on single-use plastic bags, commonly referred to as checkout bags. 

Gerry Moore, the company's CEO, says the majority of single-use plastic bags it processes are grocery, or checkout bags. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

There will be several exceptions, including bags for produce, baked goods, meat, hardware and tires, but Moore said that the majority of plastic bags they process will be banned by the new act.

"It's millions of bags that will be affected," he said. "So the elimination or the reduction of plastic bags is viewed as a positive thing by Island Waste Management."

No overseas market 

IWMC has been struggling to deal with the large amount of plastics it processes after China announced it would no longer accept foreign recyclables last fall.

The corporation has stockpiled more than 100 tonnes of plastic since then. Moore said material they could no longer hold onto was used to heat government buildings.

IWMC had been shipping its plastics to China until last fall, when the country announced it would no longer accept foreign recyclables. Moore says the company has been forced to hold onto the plastics, or use them for heating in government buildings. (Nicole Williams/CBC )

But without a market to sell the recyclables to, Moore said there's been a surplus of plastic in North America, leaving other jurisdictions to send them to landfills. 

Moore said he's unsure of how much the legislation will reduce the amount of plastic the corporation processes, but hopes that in the mean time, Islanders try to avoid using single-use plastic bags.

"If you don't need to use them, don't."

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