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Government of Canada Moves Forward With Banning Harmful Single-Use Plastic
The environmental costs and economic losses of plastic pollution has hit a tipping point with more than 90 per cent of nearly 5,000 kilotonnes of plastic generated lost to disposal. By taking a multi-pronged approach— product bans, producer responsibility, support for innovation and research, and most of all reducing plastic in its own operations—the Government of Canada is making positive steps in addressing plastic waste and pollution.
On December 21, 2021 The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, and the Minister of Health, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, announced draft regulations prohibiting certain single-use plastics have been published for public comment.
The draft regulations reflect input received through extensive consultations conducted by the Government of Canada since 2019, including from the tens of thousands of Canadians who expressed their support for banning certain single-use plastics. It is estimated that the regulations would prevent more than 23,000 tonnes of plastic pollution from entering the environment over a ten-year period—the equivalent of one million garbage bags of litter—and their enactment represents both a necessary and a major step in the regulatory process that brings Canada one step closer to delivering on its commitment to banning certain harmful single-use plastics.
It is the Government’s intent to finalize these Regulations and bring the ban into force as quickly as possible and as early as late 2022 after reviewing and considering comments received.
The draft Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations opens for public comment on December 25, 2021. The public consultation will close on March 5, 2022. As well, The Government of Canada will soon publish draft guidance to help businesses adapt to the requirements of the proposed Regulations.
While there is no single solution to addressing plastic waste and pollution, a combination of initiatives that strike a balance of economic, environment, and social considerations will position Canada in a place of domestic and international leadership:
- Banning specific items that are proven to be impossible to recycle, and lost to disposal and litter, will create better alternatives.
- Making producers that manufacture, manage, and market products and packaging that do not have systematic recycling options at end-of-life has the greatest potential to shift markets for greater efficiency.
- Introducing standards and targets for recycling will allow for progress to be measured, which has historically been lacking.
- Conducting research and working collaboratively across value and supply chains will uncover new and better ways on how we produce, use, and manage products and services.
We take an active role in monitoring and responding to initiatives as it relates to waste reduction, resource efficiency, and the circular economy. For those that wish to discuss regulations or any other circular economy policy and Circular Innovation Council-related positions, please contact:
Circular Innovation Council