Retail Plastic Bags

The Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador enacted a provincial ban on the distribution of retail plastic bags on October 1, 2020. In April 2019, government amended the Environmental Protection Act and began drafting regulations to ban the distribution of retail plastic bags.

Since the passing of the legislation, residents, businesses, governments and organizations have been actively decreasing the amount of plastic waste created by these bags and working to put alternatives in place. This distribution ban also supports the Canadian Council of Ministers of Environment’s Zero Plastic Waste Strategy and Phase 1 Action Plan which aim to reduce, recycle or replace single use and disposable plastics which are harmful to our environment.

The provincial ban will be enforced under the Environmental Protection Act. Any inquiries or concerns with compliance should be directed to the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Municipalities.

Did You Know?

  • 120 million plastic retail bags are used annually in Newfoundland and Labrador; an estimated 96% end up in the landfill.
  • Plastic retail bags account for 6% of large litter found along roadways and coastlines in our province.

Retail Plastic Bag Ban

What’s Included

The ban applies to plastic retail bags made of plastic, including biodegradable plastic or compostable plastic that would have been provided or sold by the retailer for purchased products.

What’s Not Included

The ban does not apply to bags used to:

  • Package meat, poultry or fish, whether pre-packaged or not;
  • Package fruit, vegetables, candy, grains, nuts and other loose bulk food items;
  • Wrap flowers or potted plants;
  • Protect prepared foods or bakery goods that are not pre-packaged;
  • Transport live fish;
  • Protect newspapers or printed material left at a person’s residence or place of business;
  • Protect clothes after professional laundering or dry cleaning; or
  • Protect used tires taken o vehicles and placed in a person’s vehicle.

While the ban does not include the above, we do encourage you to use reusable alternatives where possible. For example, skip the plastic produce bags at the grocery store and invest in small mesh bag for your fruits and veggies. By using reusable alternatives, we’re signalling our commitment to a cleaner planet and a greener, sustainable future for all – how do you like them apples?

BYOB – bring your own bag

From grocery shopping to packing for your next staycation adventure – always BYOB (bring your own bag) to help reduce waste!

While plastic retail bags are no longer be available after September 30, consumption of any alternative type of bag still comes with an environmental impact. To help protect our environment, consumers are encouraged to choose durable reusable bags when shopping.


  • Choose a fabric that is washable and strong that will last a long time.
  • Get the junk out of your trunk but leave your reusable bags for your next shopping adventure.
  • Old material laying around? Consider making your own bags. Find a pattern online and make a custom bag.
  • Wash your reusable bags regularly.
  • Worried about placing packaged meat in your reusable bags? Consider a bag that is easy to wipe clean.
  • Keep a compact shopping bag in your purse or pocket for unplanned trips.