Prince Edward Island's 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. It is a prohibition act stating “no business shall provide a checkout bag to a customer”.
A business may provide a checkout bag to a customer only if:
a) the customer is first asked whether, and confirms that, the customer needs a bag
b) the bag provided is a paper bag or a reusable bag; and
c) the customer is charged a fee of not less than
(i) 15 cents for a paper bag, and
(ii) $1 for a reusable bag
The response to the ban has been positive as islanders have quickly adapted to and embraced it. The Plastic Bag Reduction Act began as a private member's bill, put forward by then Liberal MLA Allen Roach.
Roach said he's thrilled to see how Islanders have embraced the change.
"I didn't think it was going to be the answer for everything," said Roach. "But I thought this would be the little spark that would start something and make it grow and it certainly has done that.