Plastic Bag Ban must be provincial

November 21, 2017

Members of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) have voted in support of a provincially-mandated ban on single-use plastic bags.

“Despite store bag recycling programs, biodegradable bag experiments, and widespread incentives to adopt reusable bags, there are still 100 million single-use plastic shopping bags used each year in our province that require approximately 1.6 million litres of oil to produce, adding considerably to our carbon footprint.” States MNL President Tony Keats. “On top of that almost 50% of all windborne litter escaping from landfills is plastic, much of it single-use plastic bags that end up tangled in trees or floating in our inland and coastal waters.”

MNL supports local government in Newfoundland and Labrador and the 275 incorporated municipalities that service 89 percent of the population. During MNL’s Annual General Meeting last month, the membership overwhelmingly adopted a Provincial Ban on Single-use Plastic Bags resolution presented by the Town of Torbay. This resolution specifically called on MNL to request the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to prohibit all retail stores from providing customers with single-use plastic carryout (shopping) bags.

This most recent resolution reaffirms the sector’s commitment to an existing policy position determined in 2015. Both the 2015 and 2017 resolutions specifically call for a provincial ban reasoning that 275 individual municipal bans will result in an uneven patchwork of conflicting municipal regulations.

President Tony Keats says that regulation of the retail sector is a provincial responsibility and MNL and it’s members do not support an amendment to the Municipalities Act that downloads the burden of responsibility from the provincial government onto municipalities.

MNL’s position on a provincial ban on single-use plastic bags has garnered widespread public support, within the environmental sector and with business groups. “The provincial government must understand that most municipalities don’t have the administrative capacity to implement or enforce this ban at the local level,” says President Keats. “We can only do this if a ban on single-use plastic bags happens at the provincial level. Doing it at the municipal level will be expensive, complicated, and it just won’t work.”

MNL in calling for a provincial ban on single-use plastic bags. A provincial ban would go a long way in helping the municipalities of this province prevent thousands of tonnes of plastic from entering the waste stream. Furthermore, a provincial ban could be an important first step in educating Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to use reusable products rather than disposable ones.


About MNL

Municipalities Newfoundland & Labrador (MNL) was formed in 1951 as an umbrella organization mandated to represent and support local government in Newfoundland and Labrador. MNL represents the 275 incorporated municipalities in the province that service 89 percent of the population and their more than 2,000 leaders.

Copyright © 2017 MNL, All rights reserved.
Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador

Gail Woodfine - Communications and Public Relations
Tel: 709-753-6820  Fax: 709-738-0071  Toll Free: 1-800-440-6536
MNL mailing address is
460 Torbay Road, St. John's, NL A1A 5J3