Big news this week! With a series of live announcements held across the country, the federal government finally released the final regulations to ban six single-use plastics – straws, stir sticks, check out bags, cutlery, some takeout containers, and six pack rings. 

Pat yourself on the back. This is only happening because so many of us demanded it.

The bans will start to come into force this year, earlier than suggested in the draft regulations. The final rules also ensure that these harmful products can no longer be exported to other countries by the end of 2025. These improvements in the final regulations are the result of so many of us insisting on them.

By the end of 2022, companies will no longer be able to manufacture or import single-use plastic stir sticks, checkout bags, cutlery and certain takeout containers. The same rule will apply to six-pack rings in mid-2023. A year after the manufacture and import ban comes into effect, these items will no longer be allowed to be sold or given away with other products. Straws will continue to be available, but only in packages in retail stores intended for people who need them for medical and accessibility reasons.

The news was met with celebration, as these bans are an important first step in reigning in the plastic pollution crisis. But not everyone was feeling so joyous…

It’s sickening that the main producers of plastic in this country – including Nova Chemicals, Dow Chemical and Imperial Oil – are still trying to kill the government’s action on plastic pollution. Yes, the outrageous Big Plastic lawsuit against federal regulation of plastics is still before the courts. Now these same companies have sent a new round of letters to the government specifically to oppose the bans. 

Karen Wirsig, Plastics Program Manager, Environmental Defence made remarks at the announcement in Toronto, ON. Photo by: / Shay Markowitz

Countries on every continent are imposing bans on plastic. It’s wonderful to see Canada join that club. 

By this time next year, we shouldn’t have to pick up any more used straws on the beach or fish plastic bags out of streams and tree branches. The government estimates that the bans will mean 1.3 million tonnes less of plastic waste over a ten-year period, and 22,000 tonnes less of plastic litter leaked directly into the environment. 

Of course there’s much more to do to end plastic pollution … including further bans on harmful single-use plastics and easy access to reusable and refillable packaging. And you can count on us to keep the pressure on to make sure these things happen – we hope you’ll join us. 

We’ll have more to announce on the next steps soon, so stay tuned!