The Canadian government has decided to ban environmentally harmful single-use plastics. The ban on the production and import of most of these items will take effect in December.

The list of banned products includes various types of packaging, plastic bags, pouches, cutlery and straws. Starting in December 2023, there will also be a ban on the sale of these same products in the country. This decision is part of the implementation of a closed loop economy, eliminating significant amounts of single-use plastics. This is also part of a plan to achieve zero plastic waste in Canada by 2030.

As explained in the official statement of the Canadian government : “The ban on the manufacture and import of these harmful single-use plastics, barring a few targeted exceptions to recognize specific cases, will come into effect in December 2022. To provide businesses in Canada with enough time to transition and to deplete their existing stocks, the sale of these items will be prohibited as of December 2023. The Government will also prohibit the export of plastics in the six categories by the end of 2025, making Canada the first among peer jurisdictions to do so internationally.”

Based on government figures, up to 15 billion plastic bags are used at checkouts and about 16 million straws are used per day in Canada. According to the Government of Canada’s vision, the implementation of the bill will result in the elimination of approximately 1.3 million tonnes of plastic waste from the environment over the next decade.

The planned actions will also help put Canada among the world leaders in the fight against plastic pollution and help it achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – an agenda that was signed by 193 UN member states in 2015.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on his Twitter account : “We promised to ban harmful single-use plastics, and we’re keeping that promise. The ban on the making and importing of plastic bags, cutlery, straws and other items comes into effect in December 2022 – and selling these items is prohibited as of December 2023.”

As reported by CNBC, Steven Guilbeault the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change stated: “After that, businesses will begin offering the sustainable solutions Canadians want, whether that’s paper straws or reusable bags. With these new regulations, we’re taking a historic step forward in reducing plastic pollution, and keeping our communities and the places we love clean.”

However, this problem requires more decisive steps. As Michael Morrice, a Canadian politician serving as MP for Kitchener Centre and member of the Green Party, told Global Green News:

“I’m happy to see the federal government finally taking a step in the right direction, but by only banning a small number of easy to replace, single-use plastics, we are barely making a dent. Knowing we’re one of the top per-capita users of plastic in the world, we need to expand the ban and help Canadians reduce their plastic waste sooner.”

Sarah King, head of Greenpeace Canada’s oceans and plastics campaign, said in a statement that:

“The release of the regulations is a critical step forward, but we still aren’t even at the starting line. The OECD projects Canada to nearly double its 2019 plastic use by 2060 — and the world’s to nearly triple — and this ban is estimated to only cover less than 5 per cent of Canada’s 2019 total plastic waste generated. The government needs to shift into high gear by expanding the ban list and cutting overall plastic production. Relying on recycling for the other 95 per cent is a denial of the scope of the crisis.”

Marta Banaszek

Marta is studying at the University of Edinburgh. She's interested in green politics, human rights and international politics.She was an intern for Amnesty International where she worked on the Belarus–European Union border crisis.

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