The days of plastic bags are over. At least, as far as Montreal is concerned.
Mayor Denis Coderre announced that the city is officially ditching the bags as of January 1, 2018, making it the first major city in Canada to do so. The reason the change kicks in two years from now is so that consumers and retailers have time to adjust.
Once it takes effect, the ban will apply to plastic bags that are less than 0.05 millimetres thick, as well as bags that are oxo-degradable, oxo-fragmentable, oxo-biodegradable and biodegradable. As for why biodegradeable bags got lumped in there, the Montreal Gazette reports it’s because research found that, although they break down, they break down into tiny plastic molecules that pose an environmental risk.
Thin bags used to hold produce, medication or dry cleaning will still be allowed. Thicker, reuseable plastic bags will also be available, but it will be up to retailers and merchants to decide whether or not they want to charge for them.
Of course, not everyone is a fan of the upcoming change. Small business owners are concerned that the ban could discourage shopping locally, while others worry about a sudden influx of reusable bags in landfills. Although there are currently six smaller Canadian cities that have already moved forward with a bag ban of their own.
Either way, it looks like there’s going to be a lot less plastic in Montreal by 2018.