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Community notice regarding A By-law Respecting the Reduction of Single-Use Plastic Bags in The City of Saint John

Protecting our environment – one bag at a time. The City of Saint John is phasing out plastic in the landfill with the introduction of a by-law to reduce the distribution of single-use plastic bags.  

Leading the way: about the reduction   

Plastic bags have become a common, everyday item for many of us, and when we use them, we may not consider the consequences. They are a convenient way to carry purchased goods when we go shopping, and often have a variety of other temporary uses. However, they are no longer recycled, and we do not often think much about what happens to them when they are thrown out with the garbage.    

An estimated 10 million plastic bags are used every minute around the world. In just one year, 300 to 700 plastic bags pass through the hands of an average Canadian. That adds up to Canadians using over 9 billion plastic bags every year, enough bags to circle the earth!  

On March 8, 2021, Saint John Common Council will follow what other communities in New Brunswick and across the Maritimes have done to cut back on plastic waste as they vote on the first and second reading of the By-law Respecting the Reduction of Single Use Plastic Bags in the City of Saint John. If passed, the by-law would be brought back to Council for a third reading before new legislation would take effect on July 1, 2021 to prohibit businesses from offering single-use plastic bags at the checkout.  

Some local businesses have already taken steps to lead the effort by encouraging their customers to bring their own bags, and offering alternate, eco-friendly options. Common options include paper bags, reusable cloth bags, and boxes.   

There are instances of plastic bag use that would not apply to the by-law. These include bags that:   

(a) package loose bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains or candy; (b) package loose small hardware items such as nails and bolts; (c) wrap frozen foods, meat, poultry or fish, whether pre-packaged or not; (d) wrap flowers or potted plants; (e) protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not pre-packaged. (f) contain prescription drugs received from a pharmacy; (g) transport live fish; (h) protect linens, bedding or other similar large items that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag; (i) protect newspapers or other printed material intended to be left at the customer’s residence or place of business; (j) protect clothes after professional laundering or dry cleaning; (k) protect tires that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag.  

We thank the community and local businesses for their efforts to steward environmental conservation and protection by reducing the volume of single-use plastics in our landfill.   

The By-law Respecting the Reduction of Single-Use Plastic Bags in The City of Saint John is available in the March 8, 2021 Council Agenda.