Plan to ban single-use plastics presented by Canada


Straws and plastic grocery bags will be history by the end of the year, the Canadian government announced on Monday.

The long-awaited move comes three years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to end the use of plastics that are hard to recycle and contribute to pollution.

Along with straws and grocery bags, six items are affected, including polystyrene take-out food containers, cutlery, stir sticks and plastic rings that hold six packs of beer together.

The ban means that the products can no longer be produced from the end of this year. Additionally, it stops the sale of the items by the end of 2023 and their import by the end of 2025.

The government classified manufactured plastics as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act following a scientific assessment of plastics in 2020. It was the first necessary step towards a ban.

Plastics have become a scourge in Canada. In a 2019 study, Environment and Climate Change Canada found that 3.6 million tonnes of plastic were thrown away each year. Most ended up in landfills, as only around 10% of plastics were recycled. It takes hundreds of years for plastic to decompose in landfills.

Also in 2019, a national shoreline cleanup initiative collected 359,000 pounds of plastic waste.

Government data shows that year also saw huge plastic sales and uses, including 15.5 billion grocery bags, 4.5 million cutlery, 3 billion stir sticks, 5.8 billion straws, 183 million six-pack rings and 805 million to-go containers, as reported by Global News.

The items also ended up as litter in parks and forests.

Some food retailers have already ended the use of plastic bags, including Sobey’s, while a number of fast food outlets have retired plastic straws and replaced them with paper straws.

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