Islanders show strong support for reducing single-use plastic bags to benefit the environment

Islanders’ enthusiastic support for reducing single-use plastic checkout bags is decreasing the volume of plastic entering the Island’s solid waste system. As a result, there will be no need to increase fees for reusable or paper bags in January as originally planned.

The minimum mandatory fee will remain at 15 cents for paper and $1 for reusable checkout bags.

“The support from the public and the business community has been so effective that we have canceled the proposed fee increase that was previously scheduled for January 1st. The purpose of the Act was to reduce plastic waste.  Consumer response has been so positive in achieving this goal that there is no compelling reason to increase fees.”

- Environment, Water and Climate Change Minister Brad Trivers

In addition to canceling the previously planned fee increase, the amendment also provides an exemption for clear plastic checkout bags for products that may leak fluids.

Members of the business community are reminded that the six-month exemption allowed to help businesses use up inventory of plastic bags on hand expires January 1, 2020.

Response from the public and out of province visitors have been very positive, with many expressing support to reduce the use of other single use packaging like plastic straws, Styrofoam cups and foam clam shells, where more environmentally sustainable options are available at a reasonable cost.

“Proper sorting is important for effective waste management, however, strengthening our individual commitment to reducing the waste we actually generate is key to environmental stewardship,” said Gerry Moore, Island Waste Management Corporation CEO.  “The Plastic Bag Reduction Act’s success is a clear indication of Islanders’ desire to reduce the amount of single-use plastics we generate.”

“We look forward to consulting with Islanders and working with the business community to ensure that our Island benefits from continuing to reduce packaging waste,” said Trivers.

PEI’s efforts are consistent with the national Zero Plastic Waste Action Plan. Other provinces, including neighbouring Nova Scotia, are looking at how PEI’s effective initiatives could work in their jurisdictions.  

Media contact:
Leanne Ritchie
Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change

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