After the New Year is rung in, the Yukon will be banning single-use plastic shopping bags. One year later, on Jan. 1, 2023, single-use paper bags will also be banned across the territory.
The banning of single-use plastic and paper bags moves the Yukon into a “new era of more responsible waste management,” said a government press release.
Single-use products, like plastic and paper bags, are “resource-intensive and their production, transportation and disposal cause pollution and emissions.”
These are the initial steps toward a broader ban on single-use plastics in the territory. The ban reflects feedback received following engagement with Yukoners and Yukon businesses, said the press release.
This direction aligns with the Government of Canada’s plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030 through the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste.
Minister of Environment Nils Clarke said many Yukoners and businesses are already moving away from single-use products.
“We are aiming to encourage more people to be environmentally conscious, choosing options that create less waste in our communities,” said Clarke.
“Banning single-use shopping bags is another step we are taking to address the waster problem in the Yukon and protect our environment for future generations.”
Clarke thanked Yukoners who are currently using reusable shopping bags and said the government will continue to support Yukoners in creating habits to reduce their personal waste.
“Addressing climate change isn’t optional anymore,” said Emily Tredger, MLA for Whitehorse Centre.
“Eliminate plastic waste is an important part of protecting our environment – and banning single-use bags is a step toward it. Thank you to the Yukoners who have already been leading the way on switching to reusable bags.”
Announced on Oct. 1, the three-month notice will help retailers plan for the use of their remaining supply of plastic bags.
The government recommends retailers donate leftover bags to non-profits, such as the food bank.
There are exemptions to the ban, including:
• prescription bags;
• take-out food bags;
• bags for bulk items like bulk food or hardware;
• produce bags;
• bags for live fish, flowers or potted plants;
• bags for tires; and
• gift bags supplied as part of a gift-wrapping service.
The ban on single-use plastic is a commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) between the Yukon government and the NDP caucus.
CASA was signed on April 28, 2021, and is in effect until Jan. 31, 2023.
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