Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment has set a Canada-wide strategy on plastic waste.
Canada’s concerns about plastic waste are legitimate. Every year, Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste, only 9% of which is recycled, meaning the vast majority of plastics end up in landfills and about 29,000 tonnes find their way into our natural environment.
Canada’s plan aims to have a full Closed Loop system where post-consumer plastics are recycled and become the feedstock to create new plastics.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement specifies two ways of turning this goal into reality. They are:
- Banning harmful single-use plastics as early as 2021 (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
- Working with provinces and territories to introduce standards and targets for companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging so they become responsible for their plastic waste.
The single use ban is the thrust of Canada’s ambitious plan.
What is a single use plastic? What does a single use ban look like?
Let’s have a look.
What are single-use plastics? How will the ban affect your life?
Single-use plastics are precisely what their name implies – plastic products designed to be used one time then thrown away. The Canadian law will ban:
- Grocery checkout bags
- Stir sticks
- Six-pack rings
- Plastic cutlery
- Food takeout containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics (like black plastic packaging)
These items are made from hard-to-recycle plastics and are a big part of “throw-away culture” — a common practice that prioritizes convenience and cost over durability and environmental concern.
Benefits of a single-use plastic ban
Are you a consumer worried about inconveniences? Don’t worry. There are replacements on the horizon. From reusable to compostable alternatives, we are now seeing many communities across the globe moving towards sustainable ‘single-use’ products. Some of these alternatives include:
- Stainless steel or paper drinkware
- Reusable food wrap
- ‘Bring your own’ takeout systems
- Bamboo or reusable travel utensil sets
- Cotton or PCR reusable grocery bags
When the ban comes into effect, consumers should expect to see an increase in these alternatives to single-use plastics.
Moreover, the environmental benefits vastly outweigh any inconveniences. Just look at the depth of the environmental impact:
- A 2020 announcement by Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change said single-use plastics make up most of the plastic litter that is found in Canadian freshwater
- Environment and Climate Change Canada also reports that Canadians use 15 billion plastic bags every year and 57 million straws daily. These plastics are usually not recycled and end up in landfills where it can take up to 200 years for the materials to fully decompose
- Many items find their way into freshwater sources or become ocean bound. Banning single-use plastics can divert tonnes of waste every year and move us further away from throw-away culture.
The shift in consumer behaviour will have large, lasting impacts on the future of our planet’s health.
Building Better — Working Towards a Closed Loop System
Lavergne is pleased that the Government of Canada has officially recognized that a closed-loop system can provide people with innovative products while ensuring the plastic can be reused repeatedly.
Lavergne is pleased that the Government of Canada has officially recognized the value of a closed loop system in creative innovative, dependable products while halting the negative impacts of plastic waste.
Lavergne is committed to providing the industry with post-consumer recycled plastics. Our high-quality selected recycled resins are a proven successful replacement to virgin plastics. Lavergne resins help the industry make significant progress in reducing waste, conserving energy and diverting ocean-bound plastics.
Lavergne and our partners are transforming the way companies and households think about plastic products. We help make plastics circular.
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