Montreal's plastic bag restrictions became effective Jan. 1, 23 months after city officials said the regulations were coming.
On Aug. 23, 2016, Montreal's municipal council adopted the regulations to come into effect at the beginning of this year.
Montreal has given retailers a grace period for compliance through June 5. The law bans distribution of conventional plastic bags with thickness less than 50 microns. Also banned are bags touted as oxo-degradable, oxo-fragmentable or biodegradable no matter their thickness.
Not covered by the ban are plastic bags used exclusively to transport food to the cash counter or to protect food from direct contact with other items being purchased, such as fruits, meat and dairy products.
Montreal, like many other cities, has cited visual nuisance and bad impact on terrestrial and marine ecosystems as reasons to ban certain plastic bags. Best practices to comply with the by-law include the use of reusable bags, using compliant bags only when necessary and placing plastic bags that are in circulation into the recycling stream.