Montreal's Single-Use Plastic Ban Is About To Take Effect — Here Are The New Rules & Fines

There are a few exceptions.

Senior Editor
A trash can in the Montreal Old Port overflowing with garbage.

A trash can in the Montreal Old Port overflowing with garbage.

Goodbye polluting plastic straws and hello mushy paper! 18 months after the Montreal City Council approved a ban on many single-use plastics in food service, critical parts of the by-law are set to take effect.

As of March 28, 2023, it will be illegal — with few exceptions — for restaurants and other food vendors to distribute single-use trays, plates, containers, lids, cups, straws and utensils made of either compostable or non-compostable plastics. The rule applies to dine-in, takeout and delivery services.

Businesses that violate the rule are subject to fines ranging from $400 to $2,000 for a first offence and $500 to $4,000 for a subsequent offence. Individuals who distribute one of the banned single-use plastic items could see fines ranging from $200 to $1,000 and $300 to $2,000 for a first and subsequent offence, respectively.

City officials have the power to examine businesses to ensure compliance.

Exemptions to the by-law include non-profits that hand out food as part of their mission, plus trays for packaging meat or fish.

Moreover, businesses can still distribute pre-packaged items that use single-use plastic (i.e. items that were packaged outside of their premises).

Customers can still request plastic utensils for takeout, too.

Single-use cardboard items with plastic coating are also exempt from the ban.

Finally, delivery-only businesses (meaning businesses that don't allow customers on their premises), such as a catering services, can still use single-use plastics.

A local ban on single-use plastic bags went into effect in September 2022.

"We have a responsibility to make concrete and courageous decisions to address the climate crisis now," Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said at the time. "The fight against climate change is everyone's business and we hope that this strong gesture will help other municipalities to follow suit."

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas is MTL Blog's Senior Editor. He lives in Saint-Henri and loves it so much that he named his cat after it. On weekdays, he's publishing stories, editing and helping to manage MTL Blog's team of amazing writers. His beats include the STM, provincial and municipal politics and Céline Dion. On weekends, you might run into him brunching at Greenspot, walking along the Lachine Canal or walking Henri the cat in Parc Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier.
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