A necessary step towards reducing the 4.4 million tonnes of plastic Canadians discard every year 

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – “Plastic pollution is a global environmental crisis that destroys ecosystems, harms wildlife and threatens human health. This crisis requires immediate action from governments around the world, and Canada’s ban of some single-use plastics is a welcome first step.

Starting after midnight on Tuesday, five harmful single-use products can no longer be made or imported for sale in Canada: checkout bags, stir sticks, straight straws, cutlery and certain takeout containers. Within one year, we will see the end of these items in Canada.

This first phase of bans is a significant step, but the crisis is not averted. Plastic pollutes at every stage of its existence, from extraction of the oil and gas used to make it, to the refining, manufacturing, use and ultimate disposal. Plastic particles are found everywhere researchers have looked for them, from the highest mountain peaks to the deepest ocean trenches. They’re in human lung tissues, blood and placentas. The equivalent of one dump truck of plastic waste enters the oceans every minute around the world.

We call for additional action to tackle plastic pollution, including expanding the bans to other harmful single-use plastics and developing widespread, convenient, accessible and affordable services for reusable and refillable packaging and products.

Global coordination on measures to reduce plastic production and use worldwide is also needed, as is a commitment from governments to resist the plastics and petrochemical lobby, which seeks to protect private profits, not the environment and human health. We are pleased that Canada is among the 45 countries that have so far joined a ‘high ambition’ coalition to negotiate a global treaty by 2024 to end plastic pollution.”

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Brittany Harris, Environmental Defence, media@environmentaldefence.ca