No more single-use plastic bags!

 

Effective April 22, 2021, Bylaw 929 banning plastic bags will come into force, which means that Rosemère retail businesses will now be prohibited from distributing, selling or offering certain types of shopping bags on or after that date. All plastic shopping bags, regardless of their thickness, are included in this ban. All residents are therefore being advised to get into the good habit (if this is not yet the case) of opting for reusable bags when shopping in the Town!

 

The Town of Rosemère adopted this environmental measure in February 2021, in keeping with the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal’s Action plan for plastic bags—an initiative aimed at reducing the amount of waste materials at the source. A number of municipalities around the world have made a commitment to collectively fight against the proliferation of plastic bags and, more generally, against all plastic materials abandoned in nature, given their impact on terrestrial and marine ecosystems and the problems related to their decomposition and recycling.

 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the adoption of this bylaw in 2020, Town Council intends to extend this bylaw to restaurants, as of January 1, 2022, and to the following plastics items: straws, stir sticks (for coffee), can rings, utensils and food containers that are difficult to recycle.

WHY BAN SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BAGS?

At the present time, between 1.4 and 2.7 billion shopping bags, mainly plastic ones, are distributed every year in Québec. Only 14% of these bags are recycled. The purpose of banning single-use plastic bags is to reduce the impact of plastic bags on the environment.

Impact of plastic bags:

  • Lost plastic bags are a visual nuisance.
  • They have significant impacts on terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
  • They can take up to 1,000* years to decompose.
  • Their production requires petroleum products as well as water and generates greenhouse gases.

The purpose of the Bylaw is to promote the principle of reducing, at source, the waste materials generated by shopping bags. “Reduction at source” therefore means cutting down on the volume of waste materials generated by the production of shopping bags, both in terms of resource consumption (oil, water, plastic) and environmental impacts (production of greenhouse gases, etc.).

*Source of data: Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal

Prohibited bags

In retail businesses, it is prohibited to distribute the following shopping bags, regardless of their thickness:

  • conventional plastic bags (bag made of petroleum-based materials offered, at checkout, to carry purchases);
  • compostable bags (bags that appear to be made of plastic)
  • biodegradable plastic bags (bag composed of polyethylene molecules that can be decomposed by the action of microorganisms);
  • oxo-degradable or oxo-fragmentable plastic bags (bags made of petroleum-derived plastic with oxidizing additives that promote its decomposition into smaller pieces)
  • conventional paper bags (bags made exclusively of cellulose fibres)

Acceptable bags / Exemptions

  • reusable bags (bags specifically designed to be reused several times as a shopping bag made of recycled material, natural fibers, polyester or polypropylene);
  • recycled paper bags (bags made of all recycled paper or containing a minimum of 40% post-consumer fibre, non-waxed, recyclable or compostable);
  • plastic packaging bags used for hygienic purposes to contain food products such as meat, poultry, fish or bulk products
  • products already packaged by an industrial process
  • garment bags provided by a dry cleaning business
  • bags containing advertising material for door-to-door distribution
  • bags for packaging tires
HOW CAN I DO MY PART AS A RESIDENT?

Starting now, residents are invited to use reusable bags in all types of businesses they go to.

For spontaneous purchases, make sure you always have one or more on hand. In fact, some very compact reusable bags fit easily into a handbag, school bag, computer bag, coat pocket, etc. Otherwise, remember to always keep reusable bags in the car.

But how do I choose the right reusable bag?

A number of criteria can be considered in order to make a well-informed choice. It is difficult to find a bag that meets all the criteria, but if it meets a few, then it is a good choice.

  • Durable (reuse guaranteed and long-lasting)
  • Resistant (solid)
  • Washable
  • Recyclable
  • Manufactured responsibly (e.g. local, fair trade, energy efficient)

The best choice, however, is the bag you already own!

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