Single-use plastic bags, straws and cups are among the list of products that the City of Montreal intends to ban by 2023, the pandemic having delayed some of its targets in this regard.

In February 2020, the mayoress of Montreal, Valerie Plante, had said that 2020 would be “the last year of plastic bags in Montreal”. It then intended to ban the distribution of all single-use plastic bags in shops in the metropolis by the end of the year. However, the pandemic has delayed its plans, in particular by temporarily increasing the use of single-use products for health reasons.

“The climate crisis has been somewhat hidden by the health crisis”, also mentioned Wednesday morning the responsible for the environment within the executive committee, Jean-François Parenteau, during a press conference held in the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough.

The municipal administration now intends to achieve this objective by September 1, 2022, time to raise awareness among traders and citizens and to sell the current stocks of single-use plastic bags. Fines of up to a few thousand dollars will then apply to recalcitrant businesses.

Another regulation, which is expected to come into force on March 1, 2023, will have the effect of banning several other single-use items, while providing for several exceptions. Straws and disposable plastic cups are part of the lot. Restaurants will also have to stop distributing plastic utensils to their customers who consume on site. However, recyclable utensils may be distributed with take-out orders or meal deliveries, upon customer request.

“What we are proposing is the most ambitious regulation against single-use plastic in North America, nothing less,” said the mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante.

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Plates, vegetable trays and recyclable plastic cups will also still be permitted, while City regulations will not apply to grocery store shelves. They will thus be able to continue to offer, in particular, plastic straws and glasses.

The City affirms that this new regulation arises following a consultation with citizens and businesses.

Further details will follow.

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