reusable bag

Single-use Retail Bag Program

“It’s just a bag.”

Yes, it is just a bag. But did you know that since 2011, the Single-use Retail Bag Program has had an incredible impact on our environment? Since the start of the program, more than 50 million bags have been kept out of Northwest Territories (NWT) landfills and off the land.

The program was started to address the millions of single-use bags that cause unsightly litter in our communities and on the land. Single-use bags take a long time to break down and use a lot of natural resources and energy for manufacturing and shipping to northern communities. They also take up space in our landfills.

What’s wrong with single-use bags?

  • Plastic bags do not break down or compost.
  • Biodegradable bags break down but do not compost.
  • Paper bags use lots of energy to produce.

How does the program work?

Consumers pay 25¢ for each single-use retail bag they get from a store. This 25¢ then goes into the Environment Fund. The Environment Fund is used to create new waste reduction and recovery programs and initiatives.

  • For more, visit our FAQ

In March 2020, the program was paused to support retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 25¢ fee for single-use bags is back in place as of July 1.

Customers bringing their own reusable bags are encouraged to:

  • Wash before first use
  • Wash between uses
  • Pack their own groceries or purchases

Regulations and policies