Published: Thu, June 13, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Canada plans to announce ban on single-use plastics

Canada plans to announce ban on single-use plastics

Canada's decision comes following the establishment of an Ocean Plastics Charter announced by Trudeau at the G7 conference previous year.

Speaking at a nature reserve in Mont St-Hilaire, south of Montreal, Trudeau said the specifics of the ban still need to be worked out.

"As parents, we're at a point where we take our kids to the beach and we have to search out a patch of sand that isn't littered with straws, styrofoam or bottles".

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.

"Every year, Canadians throw away over three million tons of plastic waste", the prime minister said in a statement. "We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come". It's a problem we simply can't afford to ignore.

A statement from Justin Trudeau's office said that by improving the management of plastic waste and investing in innovative solutions, it will be possible to reduce 1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution and create approximately 42,000 jobs.

This year, British oil giant BP PLC estimated that a hypothetical global ban on single-use plastics could shave about three million barrels a day from demand forecasts. 15 billion plastic bags a year.

The decision by Canada comes after European Union lawmakers voted earlier this year to also ban single-use plastics by 2021. The containers were labeled as recyclable plastic scraps, but an inspection by customs officials found that many of them were filled to the brim with used adult diapers and wires.

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.

It will also give businesses time to adjust. Requiring more recycled content in bottles or other plastic products would create a larger market for recycled plastic material that would in turn, spur economic activity in the sector and an explosion in the number of sorting and recycling plants.

"Companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging will be responsible for the collection and recycling of their plastic waste", Trudeau said.

As well, the federal government announced a new program to support fish harvesters to acquire new gear, reduce the loss of existing equipment and take steps to retrieve and responsibly dispose lost gear. Canada agreed to take it back last month after a protracted diplomatic spat.

USA states and cities are also banning various forms of plastic, with Hawaii and ME recently cracking down on polystyrene, the lightweight packaging known by the brand name Styrofoam.

"The issue of plastic pollution will increasingly be seen as an issue for developing countries that feel they are being dumped with waste from rich countries that should be taking care of their own waste internally", said Sara Seck, a Dalhousie University law professor.

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