Manitoba Town First In Canada To Ban Plastic Bags

An Environmental First for Canada:

The northern Manitoba town of Leaf Rapids, in conjunction with Bring Your Own BagT (), a reusable enviro-bag program developed by Instore Products Ltd., today announced the official implementation of By-Law 462, banning single-use plastic bags.

As of April 2nd, By-Law 462 states that retailers will no longer be permitted to give away or sell plastic shopping bags that are intended for single use; only multi-use, reusable bags will be accepted. Anyone who contravenes this By-Law is guilty of an offense and could face a fine of not more than $1000.00.

Recognizing the detrimental impact that plastic bags have on the environment, Leaf Rapids was inspired by countries like Australia and Ireland, where taxes and bans have dramatically reduced the use of plastic bags. As such, in May 2006, the town implemented a three-cent levy on every plastic shopping bag being given out by local merchants.

As a direct result of this plastic bag levy, and their strong environmental history, Leaf Rapids was approached by Bring Your Own BagT in September 2006, who suggested the idea of becoming Canada’s first plastic-bag-free community. Leaf Rapids administrators immediately responded to the proposal and took proactive steps to make it law, while the community rallied behind the initiative through educational programs. In fact, approximately 50% of the community have already started using

recyclable bags in anticipation of today’s historical event.

To kick off the program, Bring Your Own BagT is donating 5,000 of their multi-use, reusable shopping bags, designed to reduce the use of plastic bags in retail shopping. Additional bags will be available for purchase at a price of .99¢ at all retail locations in Leaf Rapids.

According to Bond Ryan, Municipal Administrator for Leaf Rapids, "Our community is committed to preserving the environment and raising awareness. With the support of all resident and visitors, we anticipate that the By-Law will eliminate over 50,000 plastic bags from our waste stream in the first year of the ban. And with the support of Bring Your Own BagT, we can promote and enforce the use and re-use of this important environmental program."

Instore Products Ltd., the developer of Bring Your Own Bag, has been an environmental innovator in the retail industry since 1991, and responsible for diverting over 100,000,000 plastic bags from landfills in North America over the past 16 years.

"This is a perfect example of how one idea can inspire a community, and how one community can inspire a country to conserve our environment," says Matt Wittek, Sales and Marketing Director for Bring Your Own Bag. "This initiative has sparked a national debate that has been overwhelmingly

positive for the reduction of plastic bags. We hope that Canadians from all communities – big and small – take up Leaf Rapids’ challenge to make a positive change."

"It is not only the big cities in North America that can make a big difference," says Bond Ryan. "If the 550 residents of Leaf Rapids can do it, anyone can do it!”

Printed with permission from the Gabriola Sounder.