One year after Prince Edward Island became the first province to ban single-use plastic bags, the Island has managed to keep millions of them from entering its waste management system. 

The province implemented the Plastic Bag Reduction Act on July 1, 2019. Since then, businesses have been prohibited from offering single-use plastic bags at the checkout. Before the ban, the Island saw between 15 and 16 million plastic bags collected by Island Waste Management Corporation (IWMC) every year. 

“We would ship probably in the vicinity of a tractor-trailer load of that material probably every two to three weeks,” said CEO Gerry Moore. 

“That’s been totally … eliminated.”

Although the single-use plastic bags are recyclable, it had been increasingly difficult for IWMC to find any recycling market for the bags. 

They had been used as fuel for heating and cooling some public buildings in Charlottetown.

No paper bag problems

The Plastic Bag Reduction Act requires retailers to charge a minimum of 15 cents for replacement bags, often paper or reusable plastic. 

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