For immediate release: October 24, 2018

Statement from Environmental Defence’s Program Director Keith Brooks on the European Union’s ambitious plans to reduce plastic pollution

Canada needs to follow the EU’s lead in order to improve our abysmal 11 per cent recycling rate

Toronto, Ont. – The European Parliament has made a bold and very welcome decision today that says it is serious about tackling plastic pollution. Now Canada needs to do the same.

We applaud this new announcement from the EU because it focuses on plastic use reduction first, and sets in motion a shift towards a circular economy for plastic waste. It starts by banning unnecessary or non-recyclable plastics by 2021, and then creates a strong framework to make sure that the remaining useful plastics are actually recycled. It also starts to put the onus back on producers to make sure that the pollution they create is captured and not just dumped into the environment. These are all strategies which Canada needs to adopt if we are to have any hope of improving our dismal 11 per cent recycling rate.

Canada currently has no national strategy like the one the EU just announced, and it shows. When the federal government announces their own draft strategy for dealing with plastics, it’s vital that we see high and enforceable targets which will help Canada achieve zero plastic waste ending up in the environment by 2025.

The national strategy must include:

  • Bans on plastics that can’t be efficiently recycled, or that contain toxic chemicals;
  • A legally binding recycling target for single-use plastics by 2025;
  • A minimum recycled content standard for single-use plastics, to drive the use of recycled materials in the creation of new plastic products; and
  • Legislation that makes producers financially and operationally responsible for collecting and recycling their products.

We look forward to working with the federal government, Canadians and industry on a national plastic waste strategy that gets Canada 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, Communications Manager, Environmental Defence: 416 805 0026 (cell); rkitchin@environmentaldefence.ca