Federal Government Announces Single-Use Plastic Ban
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson last week announced the federal government’s intention to ban certain single-use plastic items as part of its plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030 (the “Plan”).
The list of items to be banned were published in a the discussion paper “Proposed Integrated Management Approach to Plastic Products to Prevent Waste and Pollution” (the “Discussion Paper”).
The Discussion Paper follows the Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution report released by Environment and Climate Change Canada (“ECCC”) and Health Canada, which recommended actions to reduce macroplastics and the November 2018 Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste, which was approved in principal by federal, provincial, and territorial governments.
The Discussion Paper identified the following harmful single-use plastic items to be banned as early as 2021:
Plastic checkout bags
Food ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics
Importantly, the ban will not impact access to single-use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Establishing performance standards. The Discussion Paper proposes that the federal government introduce recycled content requirement in products and packaging through regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to support recycling infrastructure and innovation.
Ensuring end-of-life responsibility. The Discussion Paper outlines how the federal government is seeking to extend the life and improve the value recovery of plastic products by:
raising collection, repair and recycling rates;
minimizing the amount of plastic sent to landfill;
bringing more product categories under management frameworks across the country; and
establishing the conditions for innovation and greater capacity throughout Canada to create a circular economy for plastics and stimulate investments in critical collection and recovery infrastructure.
Minister Wilkinson also announced over $2 million in funding for 14 plastic reduction projects through the Zero Plastic Waste Initiative.
The government is seeking stakeholder comments on the approach to protect the environment from plastic pollution and the reduction of waste in a circular economy. Stakeholders have until December 9, 2020 to provide comments and regulations are to be finalized by the end of 2021.