Ontario government considering banning single-use plastics

Mar 11 2019, 3:45 pm

The movement to ban single-use plastics in Canada has been steadily growing, and we have already seen numerous restaurant chains in the country ditch plastic straws.

Here in Toronto, city council has previously attempted to ban plastic bags altogether, a roller coaster saga that began on June 6, 2012, and was eventually scrapped five months later on November 28.

And now, the hot topic has been brought up again, as Ontario’s government is considering a ban on single-use plastics as part of a broader strategy to cut down on sending waste to landfills.

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The government recently released a new discussion paper, which asks the public and stakeholders for input on how to best address the problem and raises the question if a ban on single-use plastics would be an effective solution to reduce the province’s use of plastic waste.

This includes everything from take-out containers to shopping bags to common grocery store items.

According to the province, Ontario generates nearly a tonne of waste per person every year and the overall diversion rate has stalled below 30% over the last 15-years.

This means 70% of the province’s waste continues to end up in landfills.

It’s also estimated that almost 10,000 tonnes of plastic debris enter the Great Lakes each year and only about 28% of all plastic packaging is recovered in Ontario’s Blue Box recycling program, the rest ends up in landfills or becomes litter.

“We can and should be doing better,” reads the discussion paper.

(Rich Carey / Shutterstock)

The province is also considering a deposit-return system for all plastic bottles and containers, which is a strategy used in other provinces.

Additionally, the province is looking to “harmonize” what is collected in Blue Boxes across the province, which can vary by municipality.

The province is also considering allowing more items to be collected through Blue Box programs, including small and large appliances, power tools, rechargeable batteries, fluorescent bulbs and tubes, mattresses, carpets, clothing, textiles, furniture and other bulky items.

The public has until April 20 to share their comments and feedback.

Ainsley SmithAinsley Smith

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