Canada announced Monday that it will ban production and imports of “harmful single-use plastics” from December in a bid to curb plastic waste and pollution.
The new directive bans plastic checkout bags, cutlery, food containers, ring carriers, stir sticks and straws, with a few exceptions.
Canada will also ban the sale of single-use plastics, but not until December 2023 to give companies time to adapt. By the end of 2025, Canadians will also be banned from exporting those items.
“We promised Canadians that we would introduce a ban on single-use plastics,” said Environment Secretary Steven Guilbeault. “By the end of the year you will no longer be able to produce or import these harmful plastics. After that, companies will start offering the sustainable solutions Canadians want, whether that be paper straws or reusable bags.”
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the new regulations “will improve health outcomes for all Canadians”.
“These new regulations mark a turning point for Canada. We are taking strong action to protect the environment and create cleaner and healthier communities across the country,” added Duclos.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the new regulations and noted the impact of the ban on reducing waste.
“Over the next 10 years, this ban will result in the estimated elimination of more than 1.3 million tons of plastic waste and more than 22,000 tons of plastic pollution,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter.
The Canadian government said the country uses 15 billion plastic checkout bags and nearly 16 million straws a day every year.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that the single-use plastic would be phased out on public lands by 2032. This will “protect our natural environment and the communities around it,” said Home Secretary Deb Haaland.
The Global Outlook Plastics report, published in February by the Organization for Cooperation and Development, a group of developed countries, states that bans and taxes on single-use plastics in more than 120 countries are insufficient to reduce overall pollution.
Reducing plastics pollution requires action and international collaboration to reduce plastic production, including through innovation, better product design and developing environmentally friendly alternatives, as well as efforts to improve waste management and increase recycling. report.
The report also said that plastic use fell by 2.2% during the peak of the pandemic, but recovered when economic activity resumed in 2021. At the same time, the group noted an increase in litter, in part due to takeout containers and masks for food.
According to the Organization for Cooperation and Development, only 9% of plastic waste was recycled worldwide in 2019. The US was worse than the global average, recycling only 4% of plastic waste that year.