N.B. municipalities vote in favour of province-wide plastic bag ban as Atlantic Canadians say loud and clear: governments and manufacturers have to clean up their act

This post is also available in: French

FREDERICTON — The Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick will call on the provincial government to ban single-use plastic bags across the province. 

The union, which represents 60 cities, towns and villages across N.B., voted in favour of the ban during its annual conference in Fredericton this weekend. It also voted in favour to lobby the province to ban flushable wipes that are wreaking havoc on municipal wastewater treatment centres.

The moves come just days after a new poll from Friends of the Earth Canada (FoE) shows Atlantic Canadians are fed up with plastic pollution littering their communities, forests, coastlines and parks, calling on governments to take immediate action and for manufacturers to clean up their act. 

“It is a sight New Brunswickers are sick of seeing: Walmart bags snagged on trees, Tim Hortons cups cluttering our streets and parks, and who could forget the ‘Pepsi Lobster’ caught in our beautiful Bay of Fundy,” said Lois Corbett, Executive Director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. 

“Good on the municipalities of New Brunswick for standing up together for action. We have hit a tipping point on the plastics issue. The jury is out: the alternatives are here, and the cost of doing nothing is just too great.”

The FoE survey of 1,200 decided voters across all six major federal parties, released Oct. 1,  found that 82 per cent of Atlantic Canadians want politicians to take more action to combat plastic pollution.

Eight in 10 people in Atlantic Canada say we should require manufacturers and retailers to find alternatives to single-use plastic containers and packaging. 

Almost two-thirds of Canadians say manufacturers and retailers should pay for cleaning up plastic pollution.

“Our members have been cleaning beaches and harbours along the shores of the Bay of Fundy for 20 years,” said the Conservation Council’s Fundy Baykeeper, Matt Abbott. “The solution to this problem must come from our politicians and those who manufacture and profit from the plastic industry.”

Nova Scotia’s Environment Minister opened the province’s fall session of the legislature, on Sept. 26, by moving to ban single-use plastic bags across the Bluenose Province within one year. Newfoundland and Labrador announced a similar ban in April 2019, while Prince Edward Island was the first province in Canada to enact a ban into law, which took effect July 1, 2019.

New Brunswick’s Minister of the Environment, Jeff Carr, committed to banning plastic bags province-wide within a year while addressing students at a school strike for climate action in Fredericton on Sept. 27, 2019.

Quick facts:

  • Read the resolutions on plastic pollution and flushable wipes from the Union of the Municipalities of New Brunswick’s Annual Conference here.
  • This summer, more than 2,500 people in Fredericton and Saint John signed a Conservation Council petition calling for single-use plastic bag bans in the cities.
  • The Friends of the Earth survey was conducted by Oraclepoll between Sept. 20-23, 2019 (margin of error is +/-2.8% 19 times out of 20)
  • Find the full survey report here
  • 90 per cent of respondents said they are concerned about the impact of plastic pollution on groundwater sources and drinking water; 87 per cent are concerned about soil quality and microplastics in our food; and 74 per cent are worried about the long-term effects on human health from plastic pollution.
  • Less than 1 per cent of respondents feel consumers should bare the cost of cleaning up plastic pollution, and 66 per cent feel it is the responsibility of manufacturers.

-30-

For more information of to arrange an interview, contact:

Jon MacNeill, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, 506-458-8747 (w); 506-238-3539 (m); jon.macneill@conservationcouncil.ca