Straws, sticks and bags among top targets in nationwide plastics ban

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OTTAWA – Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has said that six single-use plastic items that are not easily recyclable and already contain more environmentally friendly alternatives will be the first to be subject to the new restrictions in the Canada plastics.

That means it’s the end of the road for plastic straws, stir sticks, takeout bags, cutlery, styrofoam dishes and takeout containers and six pack rings for cans and cans. bottles.

The proposed ban has yet to go through the government’s regulatory process, but Wilkinson said the goal was to put it in place by the end of 2021.

He also said that a ban is only part of a zero plastic waste strategy that includes manufacturing plastics that are not banned easier to recycle by standardizing their production and creating a market for recycled plastic by requiring that most plastic packaging include recycled material.

A discussion paper released today suggests that at least half of the content of some plastic items should be recycled by 2030, that same year, more than half of all plastic packaging needs to be reused or recycled.

Canadians throw away more than three million tonnes of plastic each year, of which less than a tenth is recycled. Even though we think it’s recycled because we put it in the blue bin on the sidewalk, there are so few recycling options here or overseas that much of it ends up being trucked to a local. dump.

“I know it’s currently difficult to come back from the grocery store without a single-use plastic item, especially around the packaging on food,” Wilkinson said. “You use it, you throw it in the recycling bin and most often it ends up in a landfill. This must change. ”

Sarah King, Head of Greenpeace Canada plastics and the oceans campaign, this proposal said on Wednesday plastics strategy is far from coming close to a complete ban on single-use production plastics It’s necessary.

She said at the very least that bottles, coffee mugs and lids should be on the prohibited items list, and was disappointed that there was no specific funding or plan to lead the way towards the recycling more plastic.

“I think the government in general thinks this is a balanced approach, but the reality is it is an urgent situation,” King said.

Wilkinson said the new plastic content standards will boost investment in a nationwide recycling industry that is currently quite small. A 2019 report commissioned by Environment Canada says there are less than a dozen recycling companies in Canada.

The Government of Alberta announced on Tuesday that it wanted to position itself as the epicenter of western North America for plastics diversion and recycling by 2030.

Wilkinson said he thinks it pairs well with the one in Ottawa plastics plan he highlighted is not zero plastics, but rather zero-plastics waste.

He has repeatedly stressed that the bans will only apply to a small number of products that are really difficult to recycle.

« Plastics are very useful and we all use them, ”he said. “We just have to make sure we don’t throw them in the landfill or throw them in the ocean. We have to make sure they stay in the economy and that is exactly what this plan aims to do. ”

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage was less certain.

She said plastic continues to be the foundation of the modern world and the province’s petrochemical industry must be able to take advantage of it.

“They have to approach everything like no harm,” Savage said Wednesday in Calgary. “Don’t damage us anymore. Don’t hurt us in Alberta. Stay in your own lane. Stay within your own constitutional limits and let Albertans get back to work.

Canada intends to add plastics to a list of toxic items under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, a designation that comes after a scientific assessment found plastics be harmful. Designating them as toxic is a necessary step to ban the intended items.

A need to strengthen domestic recycling emerged in 2018, when China stopped accepting plastics for recycling because he was tired of the arrival of these materials laden with waste that could not be recycled.

Canada to join dozens of countries that have enacted various single-use bans plastics. The UK just started enforcing a ban on plastic straws and sticks and cotton swabs with plastic stems last week.

France began phasing in a ban in January, starting with plastic plates, cups and cotton swabs. Straws and cutlery will be added in 2021, and tea bags, fast food toys and take-out containers in 2022.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 7, 2020.

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