The city of Montreal will study whether to ban the use of plastic retail bags.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said in early November that the city will start consulting on the issue in 2015. He has appointed Réal Ménard, executive committee member responsible for the environment, to head the consultation.
Coderre said in a Dec. 2 statement to Plastics News that some cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have moved to restrict or ban plastic retail bags and that he has appointed Menard to set up a public consultation.
Montreal's Commission on Water, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Large Parks will meet with Montreal citizens and organizations to discuss a possible ban. Organizations that might be part of the consultation represent the province of Quebec, environmental agencies, and food and commercial associations.
“The experience of other cities and states that have banned these types of bags would be taken into consideration,” Coderre said in the email. “Because Montreal wishes to evaluate a complete ban of bags at retail stores throughout the city, there will be a study on alternatives to single-use shopping bags, paper bags, compostable bags, re-usable bags, as well as their impacts and cost.”
Montreal, with a population of about 1.65 million, is Canada's second largest city and the ninth largest in North America. Some Montreal stores are charging 5 cents per re-usable bag in order to cut down on the number of single-use shopping bags.
The Canadian Plastics Industry Association, not mentioned by Coderre as a candidate for the consultation process, said it was surprised by Coderre's announcement made at the city's Nov. 4 executive committee meeting. In a statement to members a few days after Coderre's announcement, CPIA said Montreal's curbside recycling program recovers plastic bags which are converted to new bags or plastic lumber. CPIA of Mississauga, Ontario, cited a 2007 study that found plastic bags represented less than 2 percent of Quebec's household waste.
In other news, Montreal and CPIA have agreed to a five-year extension of a pilot polystyrene recovery and recycling program. The program has taken on Polyform Inc. as a partner. The Granby, Quebec, recycler will use collected PS to make construction products. The year-long pilot project collected about 5,500 pounds of PS at the LaSalle Ecocenter in Montreal.
“I want to remind the citizens of the importance of properly recycling appropriate materials, and I invite them to take advantage of the numerous services offered by the city's ecocenters,” stated Menard, the executive in charge of the bag consultation, in a Nov. 27 news release.