Thinking outside the (single-use) bag: How Fort Mac’s ban came to be

Thinking outside the (single-use) bag: How Fort Mac’s ban came to be


Sean Graham is the driving force behind the Single-Use Bag Bylaw that came into effect in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo yesterday.  He kindly provided the ELC with the following account of his experience participating in the creation and development of the bylaw. Many thanks to Sean for taking the time to write this informative and inspiring post about how citizen participation in law-making processes can help protect the environment. (Also check out “Fort McMurray launches plastic bag ban” in today’s Edmonton Journal.)

On December 8, 2009, after eighteen months and five Council meetings, theSingle-Use Shopping Bag Bylaw was adopted by the Council of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB).  Over two years ago, subsequent to being shown a documentary on shopping bags in social class, I concluded that the idea of living in a single-use shopping bag free community was not only environmentally friendly, but entirely feasible as well.  I decided to present the idea to the Municipal Council, and to advocate for a ban on single-use shopping bags.  My peers and I agreed that it would be extremely advantageous to have a petition that supported the cause, and thus, spent a class period gathering signatures a few days later.  I continued gathering signatures over the summer, during which time I acquired 1,868 signatures from local residents (for a total of 2,268 signatures) and the support of 9 local businesses.  On August 26, 2008, I presented the petition and the information that I had obtained about the issue to Council; the result of which was a referral of this information to the city administration for review.
Read “Thinking outside the (single-use) bag: How Fort Mac’s ban came to be” on the ELC blog.



The Environmental Law Centre (ELC) has been seeking strong and effective environmental laws since it was founded in 1982. The ELC is dedicated to providing credible, comprehensive and objective legal information regarding natural resources, energy and environmental law, policy and regulation in Alberta. The ELC’s mission is to educate and champion for strong laws and rights so all Albertans can enjoy clean water, clean air and a healthy environment. Our vision is a society where laws secure an environment that sustains current and future generations.
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