Plastic Bag Reduction

Bring your own bag: reduce, reuse, recycle

As of July 1, 2019, shoppers and businesses of Prince Edward Island are encouraged to use reusable bags when shopping.

The Plastic Bag Reduction Act came into effect July 1, 2019. The intent of the law is to reduce waste and environmental damage resulting from single-use checkout bags and to encourage a shift to use of reusable bags. The Act prohibits a business from providing plastic checkout bags to customers. The alternate use of paper bags or higher quality reusable bags is encouraged as they generally hold more, result in less waste and are more durable.

COVID-19: Update for Retailers

During COVID-19, Prince Edward Island is allowing retailers to distribute single-use paper bags free of charge if they choose to do so. Further updates will be provided as information becomes available.

For business owners and managers

What does this mean to me as a PEI business owner or manager?

This law, the Plastic Bag Reduction Act applies to all businesses that provide checkout bags (not just grocery) as of July 1, 2019. The following key points apply to businesses of Prince Edward Island:

  • as a business, you can no longer provide plastic checkout bags to customers;
  • no biodegradable or compostable checkout bags are permitted;
  • paper bags are an option (with a minimum charge of $0.15 per bag) or reusable checkout bags (with a minimum charge of $1.00 per bag);
  • no FREE paper or free reusable checkout bags. There is an exception to provide small recyclable paper bags (height x width = <600 sq cm) at no charge; 
  • limited exemptions include bags used to protect prepared foods, loose items, food safety, medications, dry cleaning or some bulk items (refer to sub-section 5 of the Act for list of exemptions);
  • your business will retain the fee (subject to HST) collected for both the paper and reusable checkout bags. The fee must be displayed on the customer receipt;
  • during the transition period (July 1-December 31, 2019), a business may use up existing bag supplies purchased prior the effective date of the act;
  • a Business Fact Sheet is available for download.


Checkout bags poster thumbnailBring your own bag poster thumbnail










The above posters are available for download (click on the image). Printed posters are available at no charge at the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change, PEI Access Sites, and the various PEI Chambers of Commerce.  

For consumers

What does this mean to me as a consumer?

As a consumer, plastic checkout bags will no longer be available at PEI business locations (not just grocery) after July 1, 2019. Other details include:

  • a store may provide you with a paper bag option (at a minimum cost of $0.15 per bag) or a reusable checkout bag (at a minimum cost of $1.00 per bag);
  • a store should not offer free paper or free reusable checkout bags; "small recyclable paper bags” are an exception;
  • bags used to protect prepared foods are exempt; 
  • biodegradable or compostable checkout bags are prohibited;
  • there are limited exemptions for a store to provide plastic bags for loose items, medications, dry cleaning, some bulk items and for food safety (refer to sub-section 5 of the Act for list of exemptions);
  • Download the Consumer Question and Answer sheet

A link to: What you need to know about the Plastic Bag Reduction Act







Consumers can download the poster above, Plastic Bag Reduction Act - Here's What You Need to Know


4th Floor, Jones Building, 11 Kent Street
Charlottetown, PEI C1A 7N8

Telephone: 902-368-5884
Fax: 902-368-5830

    Published date: 
    April 6, 2020
    Environment, Energy and Climate Action

    General Inquiries

    Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action
    4th Floor, Jones Building
    11 Kent Street
    PO Box 2000
    Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

    Phone: 902-368-5044
    Toll-free: 1-866-368-5044
    Fax: 902-368-5830
    Report an Environmental Concern