Science

CANADA: Straws, plastic bags to be banned nationwide by end of 2021

CANADA: Straws, plastic bags to be banned nationwide by end of 2021”

According to the government, Canadians throw away more than 3 million tons of plastic waste every year - and only nine percent of that plastic is recycled. Together, all federal, provincial and territorial governments agreed to the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste that lays out a vision for a circular economy for plastics, as well as a two-phase action plan that is being jointly implemented.

The ban includes plastic grocery bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and food containers.

A 2019 report commissioned by Environment Canada found Canada's recycling industry was hampered by cost and access. The government insists that all of these to-be-banned products have readily available alternatives.

Fifth - while the Trudeau government isn't responsible for this alone- how is it possible that after decades ofgovernments at all levels urging Canadians to recycle, only 9% of plastics are recycled?

"We did discuss pollution considerations relating to PPE at the Canadian Council of Environment Ministers meeting earlier this summer", Wilkinson stated.

The proposed ban still has to go through the government's regulatory process but Wilkinson said the goal is to have it in place by the end of 2021.

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Wilkinson says "These are things that are harmful in the environment".

Wilkinson notes the European target for recycling is 90%.

Canada now recycles less than 10 per cent of the three million tonnes of plastic it produces each year, and along with the provinces has set a goal of have zero plastic waste ending up in landfills by 2030.

The federal government is going ahead with its promise to ban single-use plastic products like bags and straws by 2021. The plastics ban could potentially set up another showdown between Edmonton and Ottawa as petrochemicals are a building block for plastic.

"What I have said to them very clearly is we are open to a conversation", he said.

Wilkinson said the new standards for plastic content will spur investments in a domestic recycling industry that is now quite small. "So it's hard to see how it will have any significant bearing on the development of a recycling industry". "Alberta's announcement yesterday aim to be a centre of excellence for recycling underlies precisely this opportunity", he said.



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