Only 1 per cent of flexible plastic packaging (eg. bags, films and pouches) is recycled in Canada. That’s the shocking conclusion in a new report released this week by the Canada Plastics Pact (CPP), a coalition of some of the biggest companies in Canada including Coca Cola, Walmart, Loblaw and plastics-maker NOVA Chemicals.
Unfortunately, these companies are playing a game of hurry-up-and wait while Canada remains trapped in a worsening plastic disaster. They have no immediate plans to stop over-packaging our food and clothing in the harmful bags, films and pouches that end up in landfills, incinerators or the natural environment. Why isn’t the CPP’s important, if disturbing, data enough to spur these companies to take the urgent action needed to stop the plastic pollution crisis?
The CPP’s Roadmap starkly highlights the problem with the nearly 1 million tonnes of flexible plastic packaging generated every year in Canada. However, CPP members aren’t planning to identify “a full list of plastics packaging for elimination and/or reduction,” until next year and won’t get around to eliminating them until 2025. The Roadmap also suggests that by 2023, the companies will still be in the planning stages of phasing out the single-use plastic items that the government promised to ban this year, including plastic bags. These items need to be phased out now.
This is exactly why we need federal regulation, and fast. We can’t wait around for some of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution to make voluntary changes on their own timelines. It will never happen. At least not in time to prevent further damage to the environment.