As Wetaskiwin strives to lead the way in sustainability, single-use plastic checkout bags are a thing of the past as of Tuesday, July 9. The good news is that residents and businesses have a variety of long-lasting, environmentally friendly alternatives to choose instead!
Wetaskiwin council passed the Plastic Checkout Bag Bylaw Oct. 9, 2018, with the ban taking effect July 9, becoming just the second community in Alberta to ban the use of single-use plastic checkout bags.
“This initiative was a long time in the making, with the first conversations about it happening at a Council level years ago,” says Legislative Officer Jacqueline Pelechytik , noting that an estimated 4 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. More communities across Canada and around the world are taking steps to reduce that number —and with it the environment impact.
Here’s what you need to know:
Retail establishments – including grocery stores, retail stores, farmers’ markets, fast food or restaurants – cannot sell or distribute single-use plastic checkout bags thinner than 2.0 millimetres thick. Unsure if your business is affected? Call 780-361-4420.
Exceptions to the ban include: plastic bags to contain produce, fresh bakery, meat or fish or bulk food items; carry bulk hardware items; wrap flowers or potted plants; contain dirty, greasy, or hazardous products or materials; and dry-cleaning bags or other professional laundering bags.
What this means for you:
Shoppers will need to bring an alternative way to carry purchases home or purchase reusable bags from retailers. Some retailers may also offer paper bags.
- Reusable bags: remember to throw these in the laundry after several uses to keep them clean and sanitary.
- Plastic containers or laundry baskets: For large grocery trips, keep large plastic tote containers or laundry baskets in your vehicle. After you’ve paid for your groceries, wheel them out in your shopping cart and load your containers.
- Cardboard boxes: Some stores have cardboard boxes available that can be recycled at the City Recycling Centre.
Get your reusable bags today!
Following the announcement of the ban, the John Maude and Susan Quinn Charitable Foundation stepped up with an amazing $15,000 donation to provide the community with free reusable bags.
Watch for a table set up at your local grocery store from 2 to 3 p.m on July 9, 2019 to pick yours up!
After June 1, 2020, stores must charge a minimum of 15 cents per single-use paper checkout bag, however fast food restaurants, food delivery, sit-down restaurants and mobile catering businesses are exempt.
Questions about the single-use plastic bag ban? Call the Legislative Officer at 780-361-4420. Retail businesses can also download a Business Kit, with a bylaw summary, key messages for customers and a reusable bag cheat sheet.