Ottawa: The Canadian government has announced that single-use plastics will be banned for environmental protection by the end of 2021.
Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson on Wednesday unveiled the list of to-be-banned single-use plastics, which include grocery checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and food takeout containers.
Wilkinson said the ban is needed because of the “significant harm” plastic is causing to wildlife and Canada’s coastlines. In Canada, he said, only 9% of the plastic that is thrown out is recycled. The ban is one element of a broader plan to reach zero plastic waste by 2030.
Wilkinson said the government selected the plastic items because there are already readily available and affordable alternatives and that while many items will have to continue to be single-use, they need to be items that can be recycled.
The ban, which follows some local bans on single-use plastics, is happening under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which required a scientific assessment of the problem first.
Under a government report, Canadians throw away three million tonnes of plastic waste a year, and only 9% of that gets recycled, and about one-third of the plastics used in Canada are for single-use or short-lived products and packaging, including up to 15 billion plastic bags used every year and close to 57 million straws used daily.
Billions of single-use plastics end up as litter in Canada on beaches, in parks, in lakes and even in the air.
Dead birds have been found with plastics in their intestines, and whales have been washed up on shore with stomachs full of plastics.