We’re on track to see plastic outweigh fish in our oceans by 2050. The only way to reverse the plastic tide is to make, and use, less plastic in Canada and around the world.
Canada desperately needs an effective and comprehensive plan to tackle the plastic pollution crisis.
We’ve entered a federal election, which means we have an opportunity to have our voices heard.
We need a plan that will:
1. Commit to banning single-use plastics, starting with the first six — checkout bags, cutlery, stir sticks, six-pack rings, takeout containers and straws — within six months.
2. Boost recycled content: require new plastic products to include a significant amount of recycled material. This will create a healthy market for recycled plastic
3. Phase-out all non-recyclable plastics by 2030 and ensure all new plastic products and packaging manufactured and sold in Canada are mechanically recyclable in an environmentally safe manner. If it is not recyclable it should be banned.
4. Shift to reuse and refill packaging across Canada to ensure at least 30 per cent of food, beverage and personal care packaging is reusable or refillable by 2030.
We need a plan that won’t:
5. Prop up false solutions. The plastics industry continues to pretend, even after forty years of failure, that recycling alone will solve the crisis. It wants government handouts to pay for experimental projects to burn plastic or turn it into fuel. These expensive and polluting projects are part of the problem, not part of the solution. If the climate crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t burn our way out of the plastic pollution crisis!
6. Stop environmental regulation of plastics. Beware of any plan that promises to reduce plastic pollution without any firm targets and rules to hold the industry to account.
Big Plastic wants to keep the plastic tap running
Despite the pollution crisis, the reality is that plastic production is increasing rapidly in Canada. Federal government research forecasted an increase in polyethylene production of nearly 15 per cent (to 4.25 million tonnes) between 2017 and 2021. Polyethylene is commonly used for single-use packaging, including plastic bags and films. Only three companies produce it in Canada: NOVA Chemicals, Dow Chemical and Imperial Oil.
These same Big Plastic (and oil) companies launched a shameful lawsuit in May against the Government of Canada in a bid to keep the plastics tap running freely. They are seeking to reverse the listing of plastic as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. If they are successful they would tie the hands of the next government when it comes to keeping plastic out of our environment and our bodies. The case will not be heard before the election.
Find out where your local candidates stand
We urge you to make sure your local candidates are on top of these issues and prepared to commit to a real plan to take on Big Plastic and stop plastic pollution.
Here are two questions to ask your candidates:
- Will you commit to vigorously defending the listing of plastic as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protect Act against the Big Plastic lawsuit and proceed as quickly as possible to ban single-use items such as checkout bags, stir sticks, cutlery, six-pack rings, takeout containers and straws?
- The plastics industry wants the government to fund experimental “advanced” recycling, which mostly involves trying to turn non-recyclable waste into fossil fuel. This is simply a tactic to continue extracting and refining climate-damaging oil and gas. Will you commit to stopping funding that supports fossil fuel processing for plastics and focusing instead on making reusable and refillable containers and packaging accessible to Canadians?
Here’s to a plastic-pollution-free future in Canada!