Toronto, Ont. — We congratulate the federal government for announcing its intention to regulate plastic production, use, and disposal using the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). This is a critical next step in the government’s plans to address plastic pollution and is a justified response to the plastics crisis in Canada. Industry’s demand for a new plastics law is a blatant attempt to delay or block federal action, and we applaud the federal government’s refusal to bow to the chemical lobby.
We also welcome the list of single-use plastic items being considered for a ban. We are also pleased to see that Canada is considering eliminating many of the same items that the European Union has already banned under its Single-Use Plastics Directive.
Single-use plastics are one of the largest contributors to plastic waste and pollution in Canada. They degrade ecosystems, harm wildlife, and, in many cases, are difficult to collect and recycle. It only makes sense to ban plastic items that we don’t really need and that wreak havoc on the environment.
As immediate next steps, our expectations of the federal government are as follows:
- Finalize the addition of plastics to the Toxic Substance List, under Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 by the end of 2020;
- Ban at a minimum plastic checkout bags, stir sticks, straws, six-pack rings, cutlery, and takeout/food service containers made from problematic plastics by the end of 2021, and add additional plastic items to the ban list in future years;
- Work with provinces and territories to make the companies that produce plastic products and packaging financially and operationally responsible for plastic waste (Extended Producer Responsibility, EPR), and ensure harmonization from coast-to-coast-to-coast; and
- Establish and enforce high reuse, recycling, and recycled content targets to support Canada’s transition to a circular economy.
Canada needs to put in place a regulatory framework that moves the country towards a circular economy where reduction, reuse, repair, and redesign are prioritized, and recycling is relegated to where it belongs: a last resort.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry, and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence, jmayville@