Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview moving forward on single-use plastic bag ban

“At this point in time, we’re not prepared to wait for the province,” Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre told reporters recently. The tri-community of Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview are keeping their interest for a plastic bag ban strong.

Sobeys has recently switched over from locally-made bags that contain 45 per cent recycled content (as depicted) to the now white bags that contain only 15 per cent recycled material. (Paul Palmeter)

The region hopes to once more lead the province as it did in other matters, such as smoking in public places and allowing Sunday shopping.

Although plans have not been finalized, each community is looking to pass a bylaw through the first and second readings by end of May.

The hope is to form and enact the bylaw by July 1, enforcing it the year after in July 2020. The year gap is to give residents and retailers time to adapt. Mayor Lapierre claims not to be worried over potential inconsistencies between councils and expects the tri-community to act in harmony. He is confident the ban should happen as well.

Mayor Lapierre told CBC the council’s main motive to enacting the ban comes from plastic bags’ environmental impact and the eyesore of seeing them floating everywhere. “It’s just to get rid of them, if they don’t exist, we won’t be using them.”

Logistically, he claims the resources to enforce the ban already exist. He said the focus of by-law officers would just have to be adjusted slightly, so as to not tax the resources much more than they are now.

Exceptions would be made, including bags for meat and produce, for hygienic reasons.

Representatives from Eco360 have also been helping in drafting the bylaw. The bags make up most of the plastics that go through the facility, and is difficult to market and sort, says Gena Alderson, Eco360 Waste Diversion Coordinator.

“Just removing it from the other materials takes a lot of time and a lot of effort with a lot of staff dedicated to that. So if there’s less of it in the stream, we would not only not have to deal with that specific material, but we would be able to put more effort into other recyclables,” she said.

“Anything that we cannot market, there’s no one who’s going to take it to recycle it, we have to landfill it, we can’t store things forever.”

The tri-community once more seems to be taking provincially-relevant issues in their own hands. Despite their tackling of issues in the past leading to province-wide action, there is still the strong fact that it may not. Additional pressure from the Capital city could help guarantee provincial action.

You can help add pressure by signing our petition for the Fredericton City Council to ban plastic shopping bags. Nearly 90 per cent of plastic in Canada are not recycled but rather pollutes our lakes, parks, oceans, landfills, or is incinerated. It’s time to move away from plastic bags toward smart, sustainable packaging solutions.

Learn more about plastic pollution in New Brunswick: