CANADA – The government of Canada has laid out a mandatory timeline for industries to phase out and ultimately eradicate single-use plastic products throughout the country.
According to the authorities, six items are being prohibited: checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics, ring carriers, stir sticks and straws.
Each item has been selected because they are commonly found in the environment, harmful to wildlife and wildlife habitat, difficult to recycle and have readily available alternatives, according to the Canadian government.
As of December 2023, all sales of those items will be prohibited. The manufacture and import for sale of these items were already banned last month.
The Canadian government says that ring carriers and flexible straws packaged with beverage containers will be prohibited in June 2024. All items sent for prohibition will also be outlawed for export sales in 2025.
The Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations were made under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), following the addition of “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 of the Act in May 2021.
The decision to add “plastic manufactured items” to CEPA was grounded in the findings of the Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution.
The choice and design of future bans on other single-use plastics build on Canada’s “Roadmap to Strengthen the Management of Single-use and Disposable Plastics,” which was released by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment last year.
The government says its single-use plastic bans are informed by scientific evidence.
The roadmap identifies 30 single-use and disposable plastics and provides guidance on prioritizing those items for targeted management and selecting instruments that may be effective for managing each of them.
This publication is part of the federal, provincial, and territorial governments’ collective implementation of the Canada-wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste to move the country toward its goal of a zero-plastic waste future.
Canadian authorities point to scientific evidence that confirms plastic pollution is pervasive in the environment.
“Macroplastic pollution is harmful to wildlife and wildlife habitat, and single-use plastics, such as checkout bags and food and beverage service items, make up the bulk of macroplastics found on shorelines in Canada and internationally,” reads a government statement.
As part of Canada’s ongoing agenda to reduce plastic waste and pollution, the government is continuing to bring forward other new measures to prevent plastic pollution, better manage plastics and transition to a circular economy.
These measures include developing regulations to set minimum recycled content requirements for certain products and establishing new labeling rules for recyclability and compostability.
The government is also establishing a federal plastics producer registry and working with the industry to establish a strong target for collecting plastic beverage containers for recycling.
These measures are designed to advance science and address plastic pollution, including the prevention and removal of “ghost gear” – fishing gear that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded.
The country has invested almost CAD$19 million (US$13.9 million) to support Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses in developing solutions to address plastic pollution, including designing sustainable fishing and aquaculture gear and reducing the release of microplastics from tire wear.
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