Canada to ban six categories of single-use plastics

The Canadian Government yesterday (21 December) announced draft regulations that would see a selection of single-use plastics banned. According to the government, the regulations could prevent more than 23,000 tonnes of plastic pollution from entering the environment over a ten-year period.

Canadian flagThe proposed regulations would ban the manufacture, import and sale of six categories of single-use plastic items – checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, ring carriers, stirrers, and straws. The proposed prohibition on straws, however, will be subject to a number of exemptions to accommodate people with certain disabilities and those who need them for medical reasons.

In its announcement, the Canadian Government also publicised its intention to finalise these regulations and bring the ban into force as quickly as possible, as early as late 2022. Draft guidance will soon be published, assisting Canadian businesses in adapting to the requirements of the proposed regulations.

The regulations are part of a wider plan to reduce plastic pollution, through a ‘comprehensive approach that addresses the entire lifecycle of plastics’. Additional measures include the establishment of regulated standards to increase the use of recycled content in certain plastic products; the prohibition of misleading labelling that is not supported by recycling facilities; and collaboration with provinces and territories to support consistent approaches to extended producer responsibility.

The plan also sets targets on plastics recycling, aiming for all plastic packaging to contain at least 50 per cent recycled content by 2030, alongside a 90 per cent recycling rate for plastic beverage containers.

Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said: “We are taking action to get plastic pollution out of Canada’s communities and our waterways. The proposed Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations are a big step forward in our goal to reduce plastic pollution and move to a circular economy for plastics. Smart, clear and collaborative regulations will help drive innovation across the country as reusable and easier-to-recycle items take their place in our economy.”

Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, added: “Reducing plastic pollution creates a healthier living environment for all, because we know that plastics break down into tiny pieces that can get into water streams and be eaten by animals. These regulations will contribute to our commitment to getting rid of certain single-use plastics.”