News release

Province to Ban Plastic Bags

Nova Scotians want to do more to help protect our environment and keep plastics out of our lakes, waterways and oceans. Government wants to do more, too – that’s why it is banning single-use plastic bags.

New legislation introduced today, Sept. 26, would see Nova Scotia ban single-use plastic checkout bags in a year. The legislation will also allow government to regulate other single-use plastic items in the future.

If passed, industry will have a year to prepare for the legislation. Retailers will still be allowed to use single-use plastic bags for live fish and bulk items. There will also be exemptions for food banks and charities. The legislation won’t require retailers to charge for alternatives to plastic bags.

“Nova Scotians are already leaders in protecting the environment and they want us to do more,” said Gordon Wilson, Minister of Environment. “We agree, it’s time to move forward. This ban will help keep plastic out of our landfills, our waterways and our environment.”


We welcome this announcement. Banning plastic bags is a step in reducing our use of plastic and preventing the contamination of our water, soil and food. By far the best replacement is a reusable bag, used many times over. Mark Butler, policy director, Ecology Action Centre

“This is great news. Single-use plastics are a concern for many Nova Scotians, so we’re very pleased to see Nova Scotia move toward a provincewide ban on checkout bags."

Scott Skinner, president and CEO, Clean Foundation

Quick Facts:

  • Nova Scotians sent an average of 423 kilograms of waste per capita to landfills in 2017-18. That’s almost half the waste Canadians dispose of, on average
  • the province has set one of the most ambitious targets in the country for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: 45 to 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030
  • the amount of energy from coal is down from 76 per cent in 2007 to 52 per cent in 2018
  • Nova Scotia is on track to meet 40 per cent renewable energy for electricity by 2020
  • energy efficiency programs prevent one million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year