Big Plastic is suing the federal government for moving to regulate plastics, including a plan promised back in 2019 to ban some of the most harmful single-use items, such as checkout bags, straws and six-pack rings. Environmental Defence with fellow NGO Oceana—both represented by Ecojustice—will be there in court to represent the public interest in the case that is likely to be heard in early 2022.

A crow holds a plastic lid in its mouth

We’ve been advocating for real measures to control the growing global disaster that is plastic pollution.  We supported the move to list plastic as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act because we knew that was the best way to get enforceable rules for the whole country to rein in the production, use and disposal of harmful plastics. 

Since then, we’ve been keeping the pressure up to ensure the government moves ahead with the promised ban on harmful single-use plastics like checkout bags and six-pack rings, and develops additional measures to phase out non-recyclable and harmful plastics by 2030. 

NOVA Chemicals, Dow Chemical and Imperial Oil—the companies behind the lawsuit—produce almost all of the plastic made in Canada. So it’s really not surprising that they’re opposed to rules to put them in check. Their whole business model depends on more and more plastic being produced (which then chokes our landfills and natural environment). 

Big Plastic’s interest is private profit. Our interest is a healthy environment for all living things. 

For decades, the plastic makers have enjoyed a world in which they reap the rewards of throwaway culture … and we pay the price. They reach into their deep pockets to pay for lobbyists, spin doctors and lawyers to try to maintain their advantage. They pretend they’re not at the root of the plastic disaster. Instead, they blame us, the consumers, for not doing enough to keep plastic out of the environment. 

But the facts are piling up against them. Plastics are a major contributor to climate change and emit toxic pollutants at all stages of their life cycle. In 2019 alone, it’s estimated that plastics contributed at least 850 million tonnes of greenhouse gases to the world’s atmosphere (that’s the equivalent of 189 coal-fired power plants) and led to $3.7 trillion US  in pollution cleanup, waste management, climate change impacts and degradation of marine ecosystems. 

It’s shameful that Big Plastic is using the courts to try to trump regulation that’s clearly in the best interest of the planet and all the living things that call it home. You can count on us to make the case for protecting the environment, and our health, from the plastic disaster.