Plastic straws, cutlery, bags, and other single-use plastic items will be banned in Canada by the end of 2021.
On Wednesday, Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced this is part of the government’s longer-term plan to achieve zero waste by 2030.
“Canadians see the effects of plastic pollution in their communities and waterways and they expect the Government to take action. Our Government is introducing a comprehensive plan to get to zero plastic waste,” said Wilkinson. “Our plan embraces the transition towards a circular economy, recycled-content standards and targets for recycling rates.”
The government said 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 this 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.
“These items are harmful to our environment and their value is lost from the economy when they are tossed in the trash,” said Wilkinson.
In Canada, up to 15 billion plastic bags are used every year and close to 57 million straws are used daily.
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The federal government is also proposing to establish recycled content requirements in products and packaging. This move, they said, will drive investment in recycling infrastructure and spur innovation in technology and product design to extend the life of plastic materials.
In the meantime, Canadians and stakeholders are being invited to share their feedback on the government’s plan and approach. Comments will be accepted until December 9, 2020. Regulations will be finalized by the end of 2021.