Canada plans to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021
Canada has joined the EU in banning single-use plastics, with a goal to implement a ban by 2021.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that single-use plastics such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks will be banned from “coast to coast” as early as 2021, arguing that Canada has a unique responsibility to lead by example as it’s home to the world’s longest coastline and one-quarter of the world’s freshwater.
Currently Canadians recycle less than 10% of plastics and throw away over three million tonnes of plastic waste every year. What’s more, up to 15 billion plastic bags are used annually and close to 57 million straws are used daily. The government said that one million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals worldwide are injured or die each year when they mistake plastic for food or become entangled.
“Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution, and are tired of seeing their beaches, parks, streets, and shorelines littered with plastic waste.” Trudeau said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce plastic pollution, protect the environment, and create jobs and grow our economy. We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come.”
By improving how Canada manages plastic waste and investing in innovative solutions, it’s estimated that the country can reduce 1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution, generate billions of dollars in revenue, and create approximately 42,000 jobs. As it develops its plastic policies, the Canadian government has committed to public consultations before officially phasing out plastics.
“We’ve all seen the disturbing images of fish, sea turtles, whales, and other wildlife being injured or dying because of plastic garbage in our oceans,” said Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “Canadians expect us to act. That’s why our government intends to ban harmful single-use plastic products where science warrants it, and why we’re working with partners across Canada and around the world to reduce plastic pollution. Taking these steps will help create tens of thousands of middle-class jobs and make our economy even stronger—while protecting fish, whales, and other wildlife, and preserving the places we love.”
Last month the European Parliament adopted a similar directive which introduces new restrictions on certain single-use plastic products by 2021.
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