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Province Looks To Reduce Impact Of Plastic Bags

Manitobans are being asked for their views on the best way to reduce the impact of plastic bags on the environment, Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie announced Dec. 7.

“We want to hear what Manitobans think and we want to work with shoppers, vendors and bag manufacturers,” said Blaikie.

Manitoba was the first province in Canada to ban plastic bags in liquor stores and the second to set targets for packaging.

Plastic bags are regulated as service packaging under the Packaging and Printed Paper Stewardship Regulation, passed in December 2008. The Guideline for Plastic Bags under the regulation establishes a target to reduce the use of plastic bags by 50 per cent within five years.

Next spring, Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba (MMSM) will launch a new industry program to manage packaging and printed paper including plastic bags. To meet the reduction target, the guideline requires industry to undertake measures to reduce demand for plastic bags and encourage use of reusable bags.

Manitoba’s current multi-material recycling system diverted more than 70,000 tonnes of household recyclables this past year.

To strengthen plastic bag management and complement MMSM’s planning, the public and interest groups are invited to participate in consultations that will focus on the following proposals:

plastic carry-out bags sold and distributed in Manitoba contain a minimum of 25 per cent post-consumer recycled material, increasing to 50 per cent within five years;

all larger stores that distribute plastic bags have take-back programs for recycling plastic bags;

all plastic bags sold or distributed in Manitoba be imprinted with a message reminding users to recycle or reuse the bag; and

all compostable or biodegradable plastic bags sold or distributed in Manitoba be required to meet national or international standards and be certified as such.

“All Manitobans have a responsibility in protecting our environment,” said Blaikie. “Your views will help to shape the new packaging program as it rolls out.”

Information related to the consultation will be posted at: www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/pollutionprevention.

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