The Newfoundland and Labrador government has said it plans to ban single-use plastic bags by the middle of 2020, but a town on the tip of the northeast Avalon is getting a head-start.

Come Jan. 1, people in Pouch Cove will find themselves paying five cents a bag in local stores.

“We thought this might be nice, that the province is coming with it, that if Pouch Cove did something, you know, out in front of everybody, it might be recognized and it might draw attention to our little town, because we’re at the end of the road,” said Coun. Greg King. 

The charge is the work of the town’s new economic development committee, which will also be distributing a reusable bag to every household in the town, as well as 300 bags to each of the four main businesses that use bags. 

“Nobody should be without when they go to the store, because they’ll have different opportunities,” he said. “And if they want to pay the five cents, they can do that, but we’re encouraging them to bring along their free recycle bag, and then if they need to, purchase one.”

King said with about 860 households in Pouch Cove, the town is giving out about 2,000 bags to start. He said the initiative is costing the town about $2,500.

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