Prince Edward Island has become the first province to introduce a ban on single-use plastic bags.
The Plastic Bag Reduction Act officially came into effect on Canada Day and prohibits businesses from providing single-use plastic bags at checkout. They are instead to offer paper bags or higher quality reusable bags.
The province says these other bags are more durable and result in less waste.
There are exceptions to the regulation, however. Businesses will be allowed to provide plastic bags for a variety of products, including bulk produce, live fish, prescription drugs and dry cleaning, among others.
Businesses in P.E.I. will also be allowed to use up the stock of plastic bags they already have.
According to the Retail Council in Canada, 48 communities across Canada either have a plastic bag ban or have committed to introducing one in the near future, but P.E.I. has the only province-wide ban.
Jordan Keenanof the Plastics Oceans Foundation Canada told CTV News Channel a lot of these bans are proving to be difficult to enforce.
“I live in Montreal (and) we’ve had a plastic bag ban here for a while, yet you can still get plastic bags, pretty much everywhere,” he said.
Victoria, B.C. introduced a single-use plastic bag ban a year ago and on Monday increased the prices of grocery bags to 25 cents for a paper bag and $2 for a reusable bag. The city said the increase is meant to reduce the demand for the recyclable bags while helping businesses recoup some of the costs of transitioning to this policy.
Last month, the Trudeau government announced its intention to ban single-use plastics across the country by 2021, including plastic bags, water bottles and straws.
Vancouver plans to ban single-use plastics by 2020.