Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has announced the next steps in the Government of Canada’s plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030.
“Canadians see the effects of plastic pollution in their communities and waterways and they expect the Government to take action,” said Wilkinson. “Our Government is introducing a comprehensive plan to get to zero plastic waste.”
The plan aims to protect our waters and wildlife, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs. A key part of the plan is a ban on harmful single-use plastic items where there is evidence that they are found in the environment, are often not recycled, and have readily available alternatives.
Based on those criteria, the six items the Government proposes to ban are plastic checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery, and food ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics. This list of items was published on October 7, 2020 in the discussion paper Proposed Integrated Management Approach to Plastic Products to Prevent Waste and Pollution.
“Our plan embraces the transition towards a circular economy, recycled-content standards and targets for recycling rates,” according to Wilkinson. “We also intend to ban plastic bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery, and hard-to-recycle take out containers.”
“These items are harmful to our environment and their value is lost from the economy when they are tossed in the trash,” added Wilkinson. “This proposed ban will help drive innovation across the country as new and easier to recycle items take their place in our economy.”
The Government of Canada is proposing to establish recycled content requirements in products and packaging. This will drive investment in recycling infrastructure and spur innovation in technology and product design to extend the life of plastic materials.
The federal government wants to hear from Canadians and stakeholders on this approach to protect the environment from plastic pollution and reduce waste through a more circular economy. Comments will be accepted until December 9, 2020. Regulations will be finalized by the end of 2021.
Minister Wilkinson also took the opportunity to announce over $2-million through the Zero Plastic Waste Initiative for 14 new Canadian-led plastic reduction initiatives. These projects are led by communities, organizations, and institutions. The projects will promote the development of new and innovative solutions to prevent, capture, and remove plastic pollution from the environment.
By improving how we manage plastic waste and investing in innovative solutions, the Government of Canada indicates that we can reduce 1.8-million-tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year and create approximately 42,000 jobs across the country.