PM Justin Trudeau: Canada Plans to Ban Single-use Plastics

PM Justin Trudeau: Canada Plans to Ban Single-use Plastics”

Almost 3 million tonnes of plastic waste is thrown away each year just from Canada, with more than 34 million plastic bags being thrown away every day.

Less than 10 per cent of plastics used in Canada are now recycled, he said.

The federal government estimates that about a third of all plastic used in Canada is for single-use or short-term products such as straws and packaging, and that Canadians use some 15 billion plastic bags a year and 57 million plastic straws a day.

An official at Environment Canada, speaking anonymously because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly, said Canada's focus will be on banning things that are the most harmful, or the hardest to recycle.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to banning single-use plastics, potentially as early as 2021.

Though it is not specified which items will be banned, single-use products such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks were mentioned as contributors to the country's plastic problem.

Each year, a million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals worldwide are injured or killed by becoming entangled in plastic or ingesting it through the food chain. Part of the consideration here needs to be given to the businesses that manufacture the plastic, employing thousands of Canadians, and the many, many businesses that rely on the products, such as restaurants and fast food outlets which use containers and straws, and businesses that use plastic bags for shoppers.

Efforts by the European Union and Canada are in an attempt to limit pollution of plastics in waterways, fields, and oceans.

A national strategy would also lower operation costs for retailers, which would in turn result in better pricing for customers.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister awkwardly stumbled when asked how his own family had reduced their plastic use. Where possible, more communities and residents across the country should be using recycling services more.

"Let's see what actually happens through this federal initiative", he said. It didn't say which products would be affected, for example, when the bans would kick in or what would happen if the Liberals lost the election this fall.

"Polypropylene is used in items such as life-saving medical products, fuel-reducing vehicle parts, textiles and packaging that can extend the life of food, resulting in less waste", she added.

The city does not monitor how much plastic is landfilled, however it does monitor diversion rates, she said. "We just need to get on with it".

Discussing potential solutions ranging from cleanups, reductions in waste and improvements in waste management, she outlined that, "there is no silver bullet solution to plastic pollution".

"Don't wait for the feds", she said - anything municipalities do now would simply build on federal efforts.

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