PEI

Retail council wants changes to P.E.I.'s proposed plastic-bag ban

The Retail Council of Canada is hopeful the P.E.I. government will consult with them before they pass Bill 114 which asks for the ban of single-use plastic bags and replace them with paper bags.

'We need to be at the table when these decisions are being made'

A P.E.I. private member's bill would ban plastic bags and replace them with paper bags. (Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba)

The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is hopeful the P.E.I. government will consult with it before the province passes Bill 114, the Plastic Bag Reduction Act, asking for the ban of single-use plastic bags. 

Jim Cormier, the retail council's director in Atlantic Canada, says the private member's bill introduced by Liberal MLA Allen Roach is flawed and amendments should be made before it is passed. 

The new act would ban single-use grocery bags and require people pay for a paper bag, if needed.

"He did not consult with us at all," Cormier said of Roach. 

The council has sent a letter to every member of P.E.I.'s legislature flagging its concerns about the bill. 

The RCC has developed preferred options to deal with the reduction of single-use plastic bags and presented them to municipal and provincial governments that were interested, Cormier said. 

The council received positive feedback and in some cases began working with governments to develop a plan to reduce the use of the plastic bags while not hurting retailers.

But the P.E.I. bill would not be fair to retailers, Cormier said.

Concerns over paper bags, too

The council sent a list of its preferred approaches, including mandating businesses to develop their own plans to reduce the use of plastic bags including charging a fee, Cormier said.  

Jim Cormier, Atlantic director of the Retail Council of Canada, says retailers are not against a ban on single-use bags, but wants the P.E.I. government to consult them before passing the bill. (Submitted)

Cormier most objects to the idea of replacing plastic bags with paper. 

"What we found, and what a lot of studies delving into this now are finding is yes, there are some concerns with single-use plastic bags, we understand that. But there's also a lot of concerns with the use of paper bags." 

Producing paper bags, with the water and chemicals involved, is harder on the environment than the process to create plastic bags, Cormier said.

"We do not have an opinion one way or the other on these products. We are simply saying we need to be at the table when these decisions are being made," Cormier said. 

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With files from Laura Chapin

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