On June 10, 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed a federal banof “harmful” single-use plastics. The proposal which could come into effect as early as 2021 included harmful single-use plastics such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks where supported by scientific evidence and warranted, and take other steps to reduce pollution from plastic products and packaging.
Today, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, and the Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, released the draft version of Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution as a precursor to enacting the ban under Canadian Environmental Protection Act and confirmed that the Government is on track to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021.
The report finds that, Canadians throw away over 3 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. Only 9 percent is recycled while the rest ends up in landfills, waste-to-energy facilities, or the environment. It is estimated that 1% of plastic waste enters the environment, representing 29 000 tonnes of plastic pollution in 2016. Plastic packaging is the biggest contributor of plastic waste in Canada, followed by the automotive, textile, and electrical and electronic equipment sectors.
In 2018, Canadians removed over 116,000 kilograms of litter from shorelines across Canada through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, which included single-use or short-lived products (many containing plastics) such as cigarette butts, bottles and caps, bags, and straws.
With single use plastics ban, Canada can reduce 1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution, generate billions of dollars in revenue, and create approximately 42,000 jobs.
The Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution will be published on January 31, 2020, in Part I of the Canada Gazette for a 60-day public comment period.