A bill proposing to ban exports of non-recyclable plastic waste from Canada to foreign countries narrowly passed through a parliamentary committee Wednesday.

Bill C-204, sponsored by Conservative MP Scot Davidson, was adopted by the environmental committee in a 6-5 vote. Liberal MPs accounted for all votes against.

The committee also passed an amendment requiring the government to implement the bill within 12 months of receiving royal assent.
Conservatives were pushing for six months, while the Liberals wanted two years following guidance from Environment Canada officials who said from an “optimistic view,” it would take about two years to effectively implement the bill.

The vote on amendments was supposed to take place Monday, but Liberal MPs debated that it should be postponed and were accused by the Conservatives and NDP of filibustering.

The NDP was successful in passing an amendment to add polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic to the list of plastics that would be halted from exportation. There are 31 other plastics included in the bill.

However, Collins failed to get MPs to back her amendment that the bill include “hazardous waste” and “waste for special consideration” as export categories — language used in a United Nations waste trade treaty amendment that came into force in January, but that Canada has yet to ratify.

Bill C-204 only bans exports of plastic waste labelled for “final disposal,” however environmental groups have pointed out that Canada sends thousands of plastic garbage mislabelled as recyclable to poor countries, such as Malaysia and the Philippines, that don’t have the proper infrastructure to effectively recycle it.

The bill now returns to the House of Commons for a third reading and votes on all amendments.

Read in full at the National Observer