Regulations to ban single-use plastics in Canada are welcome, but improvements are needed
Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – Environmental Defence is relieved to finally see the federal government follow through on its promise to ban some harmful single-use plastics. The draft regulations require strengthening before they are finalized in the new year, but are an important step in addressing the crisis of plastic pollution.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to ban problematic plastic packaging and products, including bags, straws, cutlery and takeout containers, “as of 2021.” The final regulations must ban the sale and use of these items as soon as possible in 2022 and not, as suggested in the draft regulation, in 2024. We know that Canadians overwhelmingly support these much needed bans—there is no reason to delay elimination of these harmful products any further.
To help reach its commitment of Zero Plastic Waste by 2030, the government also needs to expand the list of banned single-use plastics, including hot and cold drink cups and lids, which are consistently found littered in the environment.
Plastic pollution is a global crisis but the draft regulations only address import and sale in Canada. That means Canadian companies can continue to make these harmful products for export. The government must ban their manufacture for export or Canadian-made single-use plastic products will continue to pollute other countries.
We are encouraged that the Canadian government is taking an important step in banning some single-use plastics. But this is just the beginning. We will be reviewing the draft regulations in detail in order to provide a more fulsome comment in early 2022. We look forward to a strengthened final ban regulation and to supporting further federal action to address plastic pollution.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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