Plastic Bag Reduction
As of July 1, 2019, shoppers and businesses of Prince Edward Island are encouraged to use resusable bags when shopping.
The Plastic Bag Reduction Act (Bill No. 114 ) comes 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.
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 as an option;
- 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 = <660 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;
- A business may use up existing bag supplies purchased prior the effective date of the act.
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);
John Hughes (Director, Special Projects)
4th Floor, Jones Building, 11 Kent Street
Charlottetown, PEI C1A 7N8