Plastic Checkout Bags

The Plastic Bag Reduction Bylaw will come into effect July 1, 2021. 

That means businesses in the Fundy Region will no longer be able to provide single-use plastic checkout bags.

Saint John, Quispamsis, Rothesay Hampton, Grand Bay-Westfield, and the Village of St Martins have all adopted the bylaw. 

The bylaw encourages waste reduction at the source and will help keep plastic out of our environment and the landfill.  It is estimated that 35 million plastic bags are used every year in the Fundy Region.

The bylaw applies to all businesses, not just grocery stores. 

Starting July 1, 2021, businesses can't use any plastic bag inventory they have left, except for items that are exempt from the ban.

Businesses can choose how they manage their remaining plastic bags.  They can sell them or ship them to a business location without a plastic bag ban.  They can also donate them to a charity, like a food bank, that can use plastic bags when serving their clients.  (The bag ban applies to charity-run businesses that sell items, like a thrift store.)

Stores can still sell packaged plastic bags like garbage bags and pet waste bags.

Plastic bags are not recyclable.

Plastic bag ban poster

Businesses can use this poster to communicate the plastic checkout bag ban to customers. 

English poster  8.5 x 11   French poster 8.5 x 11

Plastic bag ban Fact Sheet

The fact sheet can be used to help educate employees about the bylaw.

English Fact Sheet    French Fact Sheet

Alternative bags

Reusable bags are the best way to protect the environment.  Businesses can offer reusable bags that are durable for at least 100 uses, or encourage customers to bring their own.
Businesses can choose to provide paper bags, providing they are recyclable.  A recyclable paper bag is made entirely out of paper and does not contain any plastic.  We encourage you to pick bags that are made from at least 40% post-consumer recycled paper.

Businesses aren't allowed to provide checkout bags made from biodegradable or compostable plastic. 

Businesses can decide whether to charge a fee for the bags they provide. 

 When you can still use plastic bags

There are some exceptions to the plastic bag ban.  Businesses can still provide plastic bags for:

  • hold loose bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts grains or candy
  • hold loose small hardware items such as nails and bolts
  • contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, poultry, or fish whether pre-packaged or not
  • wrap flowers or potted plants,
  • protect prepared foods or bakery goods that aren't pre-packaged
  • contain prescription drugs
  • transport live fish
  • protect linens, bedding or other similar large items that cannot easily fin in a reusable bag
  • protect newspapers or other printed material to be left at a person's home or business
  • protect clothes after professional laundering or dry cleaning
  • protect tires that cannot easily fit in a reusable bag

To see the full bylaw:

Quispamsis:  adopted Jan 2021
Rothesay:  adopted April 12, 2021
Grand Bay-Westfield:  adopted February 22nd, 2021
Saint John: adopted March 22,2021
Hampton:  adopted March 9, 2021
Village of St Martins:  adopted May 3, 2021