HALIFAX — With many municipalities in New Brunswick pushing for a provincial ban on plastic bags since 2019, the province still hasn’t said if it plans to enact a ban ahead of the federal government’s plan at the end of the year.
So far, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia have enacted a plastic bag ban.
In New Brunswick, some communities have made the jump themselves, including Moncton, Dieppe, and Riverview, which enacted their own plastic bag ban on Oct. 1, 2020.
“I know that P.E.I. had done a provincial ban already and we felt that it was really the time to act,” said Moncton Environmental Planning and Management Director Elaine Aucoin.
“We know that plastic bags can have a negative impact on wildlife and on the environment.”
“Municipalities are also responsible for solid waste in their communities and that includes the costs, so when we talk about producing large amounts of waste in our communities, ultimately, it’s those local governments, specifically the people who live there, who foot the bill for cleaning up,” said Margot Cragg, the executive director of the union of the Municipalities of New Brunswick.
With municipalities only making up about two-thirds of New Brunswick’s population, that leaves local service districts and the vast amount of the province’s territory uncovered.
So far, it seems the plastic ban for the rest of New Brunswick will only happen when the federal ban takes effect.
“I can’t say we’ll be ahead; we’re certainly working on it,” said Minister of Environment and Climate Change Gary Crossman.
“Our Environment and Climate Change Department in Fredericton, and for the rest of the province, are working on a lot of fronts and this is one as well. If we could get out ahead of it, we’ll certainly let people know that but we are again, working with the federal government, looking for their lead on how we can match up and work together.”
The federal ban on plastics will come into place by the end of 2021, meaning hard-to-recycle plastics will be out of use nationwide.
The list of banned items include plastic grocery bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery, and food containers.