Friday, 22 November, 2019

Canada 'will ban' single-use plastics in 2021

Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey
Sandy Nunez | 13 June, 2019, 09:32

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's announcement Monday that Canada will ban single-use plastics was an election gimmick, not a real plan.

United Kingdom prime minister Theresa May announced a year ago, in the lead-up to that summit, that her government would ban plastic straws, cotton swabs and other one-off items with a goal of eliminating needless plastic waste by 2042.

"Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution and are exhausted of seeing their beaches, parks, streets and shorelines littered with plastic waste", said Justin Trudeau.

Canada now throws out 12 times the plastic it recycles, and there are only about a dozen domestic recycling plants.

More than 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals worldwide are annually injured or die when they mistake plastic for food or become entangled in the substance, the Canadian government said.

"You've all heard the stories and seen the photos". "How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches around the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags".

A national ban on the most harmful single-use plastics will very likely force restaurants and fast-food outlets to find non-plastic materials for takeout and delivery containers but plastic bottles for water and soda are more likely to be improved rather than phased out.

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the European Union signed the Ocean Plastics Charter at the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Canada last June to deal with marine plastics litter. The US and Japan to the Covenant not joined.

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Trudeau said his ban could be implemented "as early as 2021", which doesn't mean anything.

In March this year, City of Hobart councillors voted in favour of a by-law to support the ban and impose fines on those that don't comply.

Canada has delayed implementation until 2021 to allow time for a "science-based" decision on exactly which plastics "are harmful to the environment and human health", according to a government statement. The NDP had earlier said it would ban single-use plastics by 2022 if elected. And it can be hard to accurately define single-use plastics. However, she warned of unintended consequences, explaining how some jurisdictions where plastic bags were banned found residents turned to heavier lined plastic products. Oxo-degradeable plastics including plastic grocery bags, which break down into tiny pieces with exposure to air but never fully disappear, are also to be banned.

He tweeted that Canadians throw away 15 billion plastic bags a year and 57 million straws every day.

Trudeau promised on multiple occasions that a "Canadian solution" was in the works, but the waste continued to sit in ports near Manila. This represents up to $8 billion per year in lost value and wastes valuable resources and energy.

Recycling, he said, would not only cut down on pollution but would help produce 42,000 jobs in the recycling and recovery businesses.

"Many other countries are doing that and Canada will be one of them", Trudeau said.