For immediate release: June 10th, 2018

Statement from Environmental Defence’s Ashley Wallis on G7 countries’ landmark Plastics Charter

Quebec City, Que. – Today, five of the G7 countries agreed to a Plastics Charter. This is good news, and represents a landmark moment as some of the world’s largest developed economies come together to act on this critical global issue.

We applaud Canada, Italy, France, Germany, the UK, and the EU for including recycling and recycled content targets in the Charter, but are disappointed to see recovery listed as an allowable form of waste diversion. Recovery means burning or incinerating waste plastic, which is not only inconsistent with a circular economy, but would also further pollute our air and contribute to climate change.

The true effectiveness of this agreement will depend on how the Charter is interpreted and implemented back home in each country, and Canada must create a strong national strategy as an example of its leadership.

Countries outside of the G7 are already taking decisive action to reduce plastic pollution. Earlier this week, India announced it would eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022. And last summer, Kenya brought into force one of the the world’s most comprehensive plastic bag bans. Now, more than ever, Canada needs concrete action to end the flow of plastic waste into the environment. The federal government must commit to domestic actions that address Canada’s embarrassingly low plastics recycling rate, currently at only 11 per cent. The rest end up in landfills, oceans, lakes and streets, or burned in incinerators.

The national plastics strategy must include:

  • Bans on plastics that can’t be efficiently recycled, or that contain toxic chemicals;

  • A legally binding 85 per cent recycling target for single-use plastics by 2025;

  • A 75 per cent minimum recycled content standard for single-use plastics, to drive the use of recycled materials in the creation of new plastic products;

  • Legislation that makes producers financially and operationally responsible for collecting and recycling their products; and

  • Support for developing countries as they build the legal frameworks necessary to keep plastic out of the environment.

We look forward to working with the federal government on a national plastics strategy that will lead us quickly to a zero plastic waste future.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca) Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.


For more information, or media requests, please contact:

Rachel Kitchin, Environmental Defence, 416 805 0026 (cell); rkitchin@environmentaldefence.ca