Montreal to forge ahead with city-wide ban on plastic shopping bags in 2018

The City of Montreal is pushing ahead with a plan to ban thin plastic shopping bags by January 2018.

MONTREAL — The City of Montreal is pushing ahead with a plan to ban thin plastic shopping bags by January 2018.

The decision is a reflection of what Quebecers want and their increased preoccupation with being responsible consumers, Mayor Denis Coderre said Monday.

“We believe that this targeted ban will reinforce the shift toward a greener city while giving the population, businesses and industry a reasonable time to prepare,” Coderre told a news conference.

The city’s environment committee had come out in December in favour of a ban.

A bylaw, to be adopted soon and slated to come into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, would make Montreal the first major Canadian metropolis to implement such a measure.

Executive committee member Real Menard said the ban would include lightweight plastic bags handed out at grocery stores.

The city is also targeting biodegradable bags because they break up and cause problems for the environment and contain additives that act as a contaminant in the recycling and composting process.

Menard said certain types of bags would be exempted such as those used to handle meat, fruits and vegetables, medication or dry cleaning.

Toronto tried and failed in 2012 to impose a ban, while at least five smaller Canadian municipalities have instituted such a measure beginning with a Manitoba town in 2007.

Major cities in B.C. — Vancouver and Victoria — are also currently considering such bans.

Montreal’s loquacious mayor dismissed Toronto’s failure playing out in his city.

“In a few years, these plastic bags used by billions, often for a single use, will be a thing of another era,” Coderre said confidently.

The city’s plan is one that might also be adopted by the 80-odd communities representing the Greater Montreal area.

They are studying the issue and have set April 22, 2018 — Earth Day — as a target date.

The Montreal suburb of Brossard announced last week it would introduce a ban on thin, plastic shopping bags by Sept. 1.

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