Canada plans to ban single-use plastics

Elias Hubbard
June 13, 2019

Last year, industry groups that represent the plastics industry in Canada announced a target to make 100 per cent of plastics packaging recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and to have 100 per cent of plastics packaging being reused, recycled or recovered by 2040.

In March, the European Parliament agreed that by 2021 the European Union will ban nearly a dozen single-use products including plastic plates, cutlery, cups, straws, plastic sticks in cotton swabs, balloon sticks and stir sticks, and Styrofoam cups and take-out food containers.

The decision by Canada comes after European Union lawmakers voted earlier this year to also ban single-use plastics by 2021.

Despite the goodwill from countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, serious questions remain over how the mass of plastic used daily around the world will be recycled properly.

Right. You could nearly see his handlers diving into the lake, en masse.

"It's tough trying to explain this to my kids".

"How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches across the world, their stomachs jam packed with plastic bags?" "Against all odds, you will find plastic at the very deepest point of the Pacific Ocean".

Instead, he offered a shopping list of things that might be banned - plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates, cotton swabs, fast-food containers, balloon sticks - "where supported by scientific evidence", which could mean anything.

According to a statement from Trudeau's office, the ban would be implemented under Canada's Environmental Protection Act. It's a problem we simply can't afford to ignore. In fact, in Canada, up to 15 billion plastic bags are used every year and close to 57 million straws are used daily.

During the last G7 summit, Canada and four other major economies signed a charter calling for full recycling and re-use of plastic products, or burning those products as fuel.

The announcement also revealed that the government would work with the provinces and territories to introduce standards that would make companies responsible for their plastic waste. Oxo-degradeable plastics including plastic grocery bags, which break down into tiny pieces with exposure to air but never fully disappear, are also to be banned.

Trudeau said the timeline will be based around consultations and discussions with scientists around which plastics should be targeted, what alternative options are available for businesses, and how unintended costs to small businesses could be limited. A study a year ago determined that just 9% of all the plastic that has ever been produced has been recycled.

A worldwide movement to limit single-use plastics in food packaging poses a challenge for Canada's fossil fuel sector, at the same time that large companies struggle with volatile prices, pipeline constraints and the global rise of electric vehicles.

Recycling, he said, would not only cut down on pollution but would help produce 42,000 jobs in the recycling and recovery businesses.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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