Unpacking P.E.I.'s Plastic Bag Reduction Act

P.E.I. is one step closer to being the first province to ban a majority of single-use plastic bags. Here is a guide to how it will impact the consumers.

Here is a condensed list of what will be banned and what will be exempt

With royal assent, the Plastic Bag Reduction Act will come into effect July 1, 2019. (iStock)

P.E.I. is one step closer to being the first province to ban a majority of single-use plastic bags.

The private member's bill passed through third reading in the legislature on June 8, 2018.

Now all it requires to become law is royal assent, and it's set to take effect on July 1, 2019 with additional parts of the legislation coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

CBC took a look at what exactly that means for businesses and consumers in the province.


The act will not ban all plastic bags, mostly the ones used in store check-out lines and for covering food in take-out orders.

Customers will no longer receive plastic bags at all and will have to pay for other bag options.

The act says that recyclable paper bags can still be provided at a cost of no less than 15 cents and reusable bags at no less than $1.

With so many environmental issues to tackle, are we really going to get tangled up in plastic bags? (Jane Robertson/CBC)

On Jan. 1, 2020, the cost will go up to 25 cents for a paper bag and $2 for a reusable bag.

Businesses can charge more, but not less.

People can always bring their own reusable bags — free of charge.


Bags used to cover clothes after being dry cleaned and those used for newspapers and bulk food purchases are exempt. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

The act contains a list of single-use plastic bags that will still be available for businesses to use and for consumers to expect.

  • Bulk food plastic bags for fruit, vegetables, nuts, candy or baked products.
  • Bulk plastic hardware bags for nails, bolts or washers.
  • Plastic bags for meat, poultry or fish and frozen foods.
  • Bags used for potted plants or to wrap flowers.
  • Packages for medical supplies or prescription drugs.
  • Big plastic bags for things that won't fit in reusable bags like linens or bedding.
  • The bags that protect vehicle tires between changeovers.
  • Bags that cover clothing after dry cleaning.
  • The plastic bag given out when people purchase a live fish as a pet.

Good to know

The plastic bags that cover home delivered newspapers and flyers will still be there to keep them dry.

The bags used to cover tires are also exempt from the ban. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

Once enforcement comes into place on Jan. 1, 2020, there will be fines attached to offences.

Corporations can be fined up to $10,000 and individuals up to $500.

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