Canada plans to ban single-use plastics by 2021
From plastic bags to straws, single-use plasticproducts have worn out their welcome in Canada. Today, the Canadian government announced that itplans to “ban harmful single-use plastics as early as2021” in an effort to reduce the 3 million tons ofplastic waste tossed out by the country every year.
According to the Canadian government, 15 billion plastic bags are used in Canada every year, along with 57 million plastic straws every day. Not only that, but only 10 percent of plasticwaste in the country actually gets recycled. And since China stopped importing plastic recyclinglast year, Canada’s plastic problems (and recycling problems) have taken on a new urgency.
Canada isn’t alone in confronting the plastic juggernaut. Plastics are now just abouteverywhere on Earth, from the deepest parts of the ocean to the frozen wilderness ofAntarctica. Fish, birds, and other creatures can get caught in plastic trash or eat plasticparticles instead of food, often with tragic results. Once plastic makes it to the ocean, it isincredibly difficult to clean up. One of the best ways to prevent plastic from getting into theocean is to stop using so much of it in the first place.
“WE OWE IT TO OUR KIDS TO KEEP THE ENVIRONMENT CLEAN AND SAFE FOR GENERATIONSTO COME.”
The plastic ban announcement brings Canada in line with a global movement to ban single-use plastic products, including bags and straws. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau citedthe European Union’s recent decision to ban single-use plastics as the inspiration forCanada’s ban.
Exactly which plastics will be banned and how the ban will be enforced hasn’t yet been decided. The government recently commissioned a scientific report on plastic pollution, and it willmake formal decisions about individual items once the report is released. But some productsare likely to make that final list. In the news release announcing the proposed policy, “shopping bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks” were all mentioned as examples ofwhat could be on the chopping block.