• Thomas Trappenberg

Plastic Bag Ban

The Nova Scotia government has implemented a ban on single-use plastic bags.




The provincial ban on single-use plastic packaging (some exceptions exist) is here, formalizing what most common-sense advocates have said for decades: using non-biodegradable petroleum products as disposable packaging is a very bad practice.


Plastic bags are a common sight all over the world, stuck in trees and bushes, and floating in waterways. Most plastics eventually end up in oceans, adding to the 10 millions tons of plastic already contaminating them. This number is expected to triple by 2040.


“To those whom it will inconvenience, let us remind you that anyone old enough to have gone shopping before the late 1970s will remember doing so without much trouble.”

- Dr Thomas Trappenberg


Anyone over the age of forty will remember that groceries and most consumer goods were safely and economically delivered in unwrapped cardboard boxes and paper bags for decades. Plastic blister packs (transparent, shaped hard plastic) and wrapping boxes in shrink wrapped plastic was added in the late 1980's for added product protection, but mostly for marketing, making it possible to see products through boxes, and added an attractive glossy layer to shelves.



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

  • loose bulk items like fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains or candy

  • food or baked goods that aren’t pre-packaged

  • small hardware items like nails, nuts and bolts

  • frozen foods, meat, poultry or seafood, whether it’s prepacked or not

  • prescription drugs from a pharmacy

  • products that can’t fit in a reusable bag

  • transporting dry cleaning

  • packaging medical supplies and health services

  • wrapping flowers or potted plants

  • protecting tires

  • transporting live fish

  • home-delivered newspapers, flyers and mail

  • packaged items containing liquids, like soup, that could easily leak during transport


If you need more information about the plastic bag ban, contact SWRM@novascotia.ca


Read Exceptions to Plastic Bag Ban


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