Montreal's plastic bag ban starts Jan. 1st

Lightweight plastic bags will be banned at Montreal retail stores starting Monday.

Montreal's new city bylaw prohibits the distribution of plastic bags with a thickness of less than 50 microns (0.05 millimeters) -- very thin bags that are commonly used in businesses. 

Bags that contain an oxidizing agent (oxodegradable, oxofragmentable and biodegradable bags) will be completely banned, regardless of their thickness.

There will be exceptions for packing fruit and vegetables, medicine and drycleaning. 

Customers will now have to use bags larger than 50 microns, paper bags, or reusable bags.

Businesses will have until June 5th to comply with the newly-established rules.

Retailers violating the bylaw could be fined up to $2,000 for the first offense, and $4,000 for a second.

During the first six months, the city will dispatch special employees who will meet with merchants to help them comply with the rules and ease the transition.