An environmental first for Canada: Manitoba town first in Canada to ban plastic bags



    Leaf Rapids challenges other North American communities to follow suit

    LEAF RAPIDS, MB, April 2 /CNW/ - The northern Manitoba town of Leaf
Rapids, in conjunction with Bring Your Own Bag(TM)(www.bringyourbag.com), a
reusable enviro-bag program developed by Instore Products Ltd., today
announced the official implementation of By-law 462, banning single-use
plastic bags.
    As of April 2nd, By-Law 462 states that retailers will no longer be
permitted to give away or sell plastic shopping bags that are intended for
single use; only multi-use, reusable bags will be accepted. Anyone who
contravenes this By-Law is guilty of an offence and could face a fine of not
more than $1000.00.
    Recognizing the detrimental impact that plastic bags have on the
environment, Leaf Rapids was inspired by countries like Australia and Ireland,
where taxes and bans have dramatically reduced the use of plastic bags. As
such, in May 2006, the town implemented a three-cent levy on every plastic
shopping bag being given out by local merchants.
    As a direct result of this plastic bag levy, and their strong
environmental history, Leaf Rapids was approached by Bring Your Own Bag(TM) in
September 2006, who suggested the idea of becoming Canada's first single-use
plastic-bag-free community. Leaf Rapids administrators immediately responded
to the proposal and took proactive steps to make it law, while the community
rallied behind the initiative through educational programs. In fact,
approximately 50% of the community have already started using recyclable bags
in anticipation of today's historical event.
    To kick off the program, Bring Your Own Bag(TM) is donating 5,000 of
their multi-use, reusable shopping bags, designed to reduce the use of plastic
bags in retail shopping. Additional bags will be available for purchase at a
price of .99 cents at all retail locations in Leaf Rapids.
    According to Bond Ryan, Municipal Administrator for Leaf Rapids, "Our
community is committed to preserving the environment and raising awareness.
With the support of all resident and visitors, we anticipate that the By-Law
will eliminate over 50,000 plastic bags from our waste stream in the first
year of the ban. And with the support of Bring Your Own Bag(TM), we can
promote and enforce the use and re-use of this important environmental
program."
    Instore Products Ltd., the developer of Bring Your Own Bag, has been an
environmental innovator in the retail industry since 1991, and responsible for
diverting over 100,000,000 plastic bags from landfills in North America over
the past 16 years.
    "This is a perfect example of how one idea can inspire a community, and
how one community can inspire a country to conserve our environment," says
Matt Wittek, Sales and Marketing Director for Bring Your Own Bag. "This
initiative has sparked a national debate that has been overwhelmingly positive
for the reduction of plastic bags. We hope that Canadians from all communities
- big and small - take up Leaf Rapids' challenge to make a positive change."
    "It is not only the big cities in North America that can make a big
difference," says Bond Ryan. "If the 550 residents of Leaf Rapids can do it,
anyone can do it!"

    About Bring Your Own Bag(TM)

    Bring Your Own Bag(TM) is a branded, re-usable bag program designed to
help the environment by reducing plastic bag use. It is a program that brings
together the retailer, the consumer and the community-all rallying behind one
cause-to improve the environment we live in. Communities and retailers who
want to get involved and are considering similar programs to help reduce
plastic bag waste can visit www.bringyourbag.com

    Leaf Rapids

    The Town of Leaf Rapids was constructed in 1971 with a deep respect for
the wilderness, which is incorporated into every aspect of the community, from
construction to infrastructure to recreation. Town officials imposed a plastic
bag tax in 2006 and on April 2, 2007 they will be the first community in
Canada to ban single-use plastic bags. Visit www.townofleafrapids.ca to learn
more about the community.





For further information:

For further information: If you would like to receive further
information or arrange an interview with Bring Your Own Bag(TM) or the Town of
Leaf Rapids, please contact: Jessica Iaboni, InStore Products Ltd., (905)
625-6488 ext. 242, jessica@bringyourbag.com; Matt Wittek, Bring Your Own Bag,
(905) 625-6488 ext. 228, matt@bringyourbag.com

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