P.E.I. plastic bag ban 'eagerly accepted' by businesses and Islanders, says province

It has been nearly four months since the plastic bag ban went into effect on P.E.I., and the province says so far it's been a success.

Ban has been in place for nearly 4 months

A plastic shopping bag is seen discarded on a sidewalk. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

It has been nearly four months since the plastic bag ban went into effect on P.E.I., and the province says so far it's been a success.

Since the ban came into effect July 1, Islanders and visitors have been putting their goods into paper or reusable bags at grocery stores and retail shops.

"The biggest surprise that I noticed is how eagerly this was accepted by the P.E.I. general public," said John Hughes, director of special projects for the Department of Environment.

Hughes said he was also pleased with the way Island businesses adjusted to the ban.

"They began reducing the use of single-use bags whether it was paper or plastic and shifted more toward reusable bags," he said.

Hughes said many Islanders also began shifting away from plastic bags even before the ban came into effect.

Hughes said the ban has resulted in a massive reduction of single-use plastic on P.E.I.

Earlier this month, Island Waste Management Corporation told CBC it had seen 30 to 50 times fewer bags in the waste stream, since the ban was introduced. 

'Not a fad'

Hughes said the popularity of efforts to reduce single-use plastics is "not a fad."

"The public here on Prince Edward Island, across Canada, in fact around the world, they expect the governments to do something to reduce the … excessive amounts of plastic that is going into our solid waste system," Hughes said.

Victoria, B.C. is fighting to implement its own bag ban, and Hughes noted it's something other jurisdictions are looking at as well. 

"Nova Scotia have announced that they are going to do it. I was speaking to Newfoundland, they give the impression they are moving in that direction. There is a lot happening across the country and it is great to see P.E.I. on the front end," he said.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning


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