Ottawa Announces Plans to Ban Single-Use Plastics Starting in Near Future

Connector Summer 2019

Canada is taking aim at banning single-use plastics as early as 2021 and will require plastics manufacturers and companies using plastic packaging to be responsible for the collection and recycling of the materials.

The government did not announce specific products that will be outlawed, saying it will examine scientific evidence to identify the most harmful plastics.

“We need to cover all of Canada with this decision and that’s why the federal government is moving forward on a science-based approach to establishing which harmful single-use plastics we will be eliminating as of 2021,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau said the government will research the question of which items it should ban and follow the model chosen by the European Union, which voted in March to ban plastic items for which market alternatives exist – such as single-use plastic cutlery and plates – and items made of oxo-degradable plastics, such as bags. (Oxo-degradable plastics aren’t really biodegradable; they contain additives that cause the plastic to fragment without breaking down chemically.)

He also revealed plans to make companies that manufacture or sell plastic products to take responsibility for recycling their plastic waste.

Shifting the burden for plastics recycling from municipalities to corporations will be more cost effective, boost recycling rates and better protect the environment, says the prime minister.

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K. and the European Union signed on to the Ocean Plastics charter at the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Que., last June, agreeing to find ways to deal with marine plastics litter.

All of those countries have moved to curb plastic pollution; some have passed laws to reduce the consumption of plastics.

A report done earlier this year by consulting firms Deloitte and ChemInfo Services, and commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada, found that in 2016, only nine per cent of plastic waste was recycled in Canada and 87 per cent ended up in landfills.

About one-third of the plastics used in Canada are for single-use or short-lived products and packaging, including up to 15 billion plastic bags used every year and close to 57 million straws used daily.

Source: CBC and CTV News