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Banning single-use plastic bags

On August 23, 2016, the city adopted By-law 16-051 prohibiting the distribution of certain types of shopping bags in retail stores. Montréal is thus joining a global movement to take action to protect the environment.

The ban starts on January 1, 2018

The ban for merchants offering light plastic bags to consumers will take effect on January 1, 2018. It applies to all establishments whose main activity is the sale of merchandise at the retail level.

A grace period for compliance will be granted through June 5, 2018.

Banned bags

  • Conventional plastic shopping bags (a thickness of less than 50 microns)
  • Oxo-degradable, oxo-fragmentable, biodegradable shopping bags, whatever their thickness

Bags not covered by the by-law

  • Plastic bags used exclusively to transport foodstuffs to the cash counter of a retail store or to protect them, for hygiene purposes, from direct contact with other items (fruits, vegetables, nuts, bulk confectionery, prepared foods, meat, fish, bread, dairy products, etc.)

Why ban single-use grocery bags?

In addition to being a visual nuisance, lost or abandoned plastic bags have a significant impact on terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Their decomposition in landfill sites may take several hundred years. In addition, the ban on the distribution of certain bags is intended to encourage reduction at source, which advocates among other things, the reduction of packaging. Using reusable containers and bags and banning single-use products are two simple gestures that promote reduction at source.

Best practices to comply with the by-law

  • Use reusable bags
  • Use compliant bags only when absolutely necessary
  • Place into recycling the plastic bags that remain in circulation


By-law prohibiting the distribution of certain shopping bags in retail stores (16-051)

Frequently asked questions

Additional information is available on the “Frequently asked questions” page

Supplies for merchants


For more information, contact the city by dialling 311 or by e-mail at


faq enviro