Canada one-step closer to zero plastic waste by 2030

From Environment and Climate Change Canada

Source: Canada one-step closer to zero plastic waste by 2030

Canada will ban "harmful" single-use plastics as early as 2021 in a bid to reduce ocean waste, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced. Mr Trudeau called the issue of plastic pollution a "global challenge" since every year, Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste and less than 10% of it is recycled.

By the end of 2021, the list of plastic items intended for one use only are covered by the proposed ban include: 

  • Checkout bags
  • Stir sticks
  • Beverage six-pack rings
  • Cutlery
  • Straws
  • Food packaging made from plastics that are difficult to recycle

Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced the next steps in the Government of Canada’s plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. The plan will protect wildlife and our waters, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs.

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

Quick facts

  • On October 10, the Government of Canada will also publish a proposed Order to add “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA). This is a necessary regulatory step to managing plastic products. 

  • CEPA is one of the Government’s principal laws for preventing pollution and protecting the environment. CEPA includes tools to address plastic pollution at different stages of the lifecycle of plastic manufactured items, such as manufacture, import, sale, use and disposal. 

  • The final Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution, which was also published today, evaluates the state of the science and looks at the presence and effects of plastic pollution on the environment and human health. It confirms that plastic pollution is everywhere and is negatively impacting our environment. 

  • In July 2020, the second and final phase of the Canada-wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste was released. The Plan outlines timelines for tangible, coordinated action to: improve consumer, business and institution awareness; reduce waste and pollution from aquatic activities including fishing and aquaculture; advance science; support prevention, capture, and clean-up of plastic pollution; and contribute to global action. 

  • In Canada, single-use plastics make up most of plastic litter that is found in freshwater environments. 

  • In Canada, up to 15 billion plastic bags are used every year and close to 57 million straws are used daily. 

  • Over 35 countries around the world have already taken action by banning certain single use plastics, including U.K., France, Italy. 

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