Plastic straws, bags, cutlery, and more will soon be a thing of the past in Canada. The federal government just announced plans to ban all single-use plastics in the country by as early as 2021.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared the news in a tweet on Monday. The announcement comes just two days after World Oceans Day drew attention to the amount of plastic waste that gets thrown into our waters.
Canadians are tired of seeing our beaches, parks, streets, and shorelines littered with plastic waste. Learn more about the action we’re taking to ban harmful single-use plastics: https://t.co/GZBt0K10Nt #BeatPlasticPollution pic.twitter.com/eZ0yT8ckY5
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 10, 2019
“Globally, one garbage truckload of plastic waste enters the ocean every minute, and that amount is increasing steadily,” the federal government noted.
That’s why Canada will take steps to implement a country-wide strategy on zero plastic waste. “We know plastic pollution harms Canada’s oceans, wildlife, communities—and our economy,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, on Monday. “It’s a problem we simply can’t afford to ignore.”
Canada’s zero plastic waste strategy will take a cue from the European Union, who voted in March to ban single-use plastics by 2021.
There’s no official list of what types of single-use plastics will be banned yet, but it will likely include items such stir sticks, plates, cotton swabs, and cutlery, a government source told CBC News. Black takeout containers, which are made of polystyrene, will also be banned, the source said.
Adding plastic straws and bags to that list could easily make the biggest difference to the environment. Nearly 57 million straws are used on a daily basis and up to 15 billion bags are used every year, the Government of Canada reports.
In addition to the plastic ban, the federal government will also introduce standards across the country that will hold manufacturers accountable for the plastic waste they produce.
“Whether we’re talking about plastic bottles or cellphones, it will be up to businesses to take responsibility for the plastics they’re manufacturing and putting out into the world,” Trudeau said.
The Ontario government previously announced they were open to the idea of banning single-use plastics in the province. Some country-wide companies — including Ikea Canada, Starbucks, and A&W Canada — have also already begun to discontinue plastic straws in favour of eco-friendly alternatives.
But the federal government’s decision to implement a zero plastic waste strategy is about more than minimizing pollution.
“By improving how we manage plastic waste and investing in innovative solutions, we can reduce 1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution, generate billions of dollars in revenue, and create approximately 42,000 jobs,” Trudeau noted.