On August 21, 2017, the City of Saint-Lambert adopted the Règlement concernant l’interdiction de certains sacs de plastique (2017-153) [by-law respecting the banning of certain types of plastic bags].
Therefore, effective April 22, 2018, single-use plastic shopping bags will be banned in Saint-Lambert. Retailers will no longer be allowed to give you plastic bags for your purchases. This means you will have to take your own reusable bags with you everywhere.
Saint-Lambert is doing its part to join in a worldwide movement that has opted to take action to protect the environment, starting with reducing the use of plastic bags.
April 22, 2018, important date!
The ban prohibiting retailers from giving customers plastic bags will come into effect on April 22, 2018.
Why ban single-use shopping bags?
Somewhere between 1.4 and 2.7 billion shopping bags, mainly made of plastic, are distributed every year in Quebec according to Statistics Canada (2006). This means about five bags per person per week. In addition, according to the CMM (Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM), only 14% of shopping bags are recovered, and while these bags represent only a small percentage of materials that go to landfill, they often end up in the environment, where they can take as many as 1,000 years to decompose.
The purpose of banning single-use bags is to reduce the waste they generate as well as their environmental impact on nature and wildlife.
Moreover, by banning the distribution of certain types of bags, the aim is to encourage reduction at source, which implies, among other things, reducing the amount of packaging.
What makes reusable bags more environmentally friendly?
The best way to be environmentally friendly is to follow the “4R” rules of waste management: reduce, reuse, recycle and recover (aka reclaim). By opting for reusable bags, you will be using fewer bags and will produce less waste.
No reusable bags are perfect, but at least make sure they are:
- solid and sturdy (good weight-bearing capacity)
- produced locally in Quebec
- made of post-consumer materials
- made of only one type of material and containing little ink.
Lastly, reusable plastic bags have less environmental impact if they are reused as long as possible during their useful life. The real challenge is to remember to bring your reusable bags with you every time you shop! We suggest making a habit of keeping them close at hand (in the car, at the office, etc.).
And why not be even greener?
Here are a few tips on how to be even greener, if you’re a customer:
- Avoid using plastic bags whenever possible, by putting your purchases into your purse or backpack.
- Put as many items as possible into each bag used.
- Ask for stickers to be put on large items that you can carry easily without a bag.
- Reuse all bags as many times as possible and recycle them systematically.
Here are a few tips on how to be even greener, if you’re a retailer:
- Systematically ask customers whether they need a bag.
- Put as many items as possible into each bag used.
- Put stickers on large items that customers can carry easily without a bag.
- Display a poster about the importance of reducing plastic bags and stating your store’s commitment to doing so.
Prohibited bags and alternative options
To help you manage the change, here are lists of the different types of prohibited bags and the alternative options that are permitted.
Plastic bags that are banned
- Plastic shopping bags that are less than 50 microns thick (lightweight). Bags that are thicker than this are unlikely to be swept away by the wind or water and to create litter.
- Oxodegradable, biodegradable and compostable bags.
Plastic bags that are NOT banned
The following types of bags are exempted from the ban:
- Thin plastic bags used for certain foodstuffs (e.g. meat and poultry products) and bulk products, for sanitary reasons
- Plastic bags containing advertising material for door-to-door distribution
- Plastic dry-cleaning bags
- Industrial packaging (sealed prior to sale)
- Plastic bags used for medications dispensed at pharmacies
- Plastic bags that are 50 microns thick or more (heavyweight).
Alternatives to single-use plastic bags
Here are some alternatives to use instead of single-use plastic bags:
|Sources : Inspired by Recyc-Québec. 2015. Avis sur les sacs à emplettes, évaluation de leur impact environnemental, p.15. and CIRAIG, 2017. Analyse du cycle de vie des sacs d’emplettes au Québec. Rapport technique.|
|No bag at all. Other options instead.||Reusable woven or non-woven plastic bags||Fabric bags||Conventional plastic bags|
|Use||As often as possible.||All-purpose. Reuse at least 16 to 73 times.||All-purpose. Reuse to end of useful life.|
All-purpose. Reuse at least 4 times and recycle.
Toolkit for retailers
To inform customers of the new by-law and prepare them for its enforcement, the City of Saint-Lambert is offering local retailers a free toolkit. It includes:
- a promotional poster
- static clings (vinyl decals) for storefront windows
- tent cards to be placed near the cashiers.
For more information, contact the Environment Management Division by calling 450-466-3199 or writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.