Canada to ban single-use plastics to fight climate change and pollution

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Canada will ban the manufacture and import of “harmful” single-use plastics by the end of the year, the government has said, in a sweeping effort to tackle pollution and climate change.

Most plastic grocery bags, cutlery and straws would be banned, with some exceptions for medical needs, Canada’s Environment Ministry announced Monday.

“The ban on the manufacture and import of these harmful single-use plastics, barring some targeted exceptions to recognize specific cases, will come into effect in December 2022,” it said in a statement.

“To give businesses in Canada enough time to make the transition and deplete their existing inventory, the sale of these items will be banned from December 2023.” It will also stop exporting these plastics by the end of 2025, to prevent international pollution, he added.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who first promised to phase out hard-to-recycle plastics by 2019, hailed the move as a boost to Canada’s efforts to fight climate change. “We promised to ban harmful single-use plastics, and we are keeping that promise,” he tweeted.

“Over the next 10 years, this ban will result in the estimated disposal of over 1.3 million tonnes of plastic waste and over 22,000 tonnes of plastic pollution. This is equivalent to one million bin bags full of rubbish” , he added.

In Canada, up to 15 billion plastic grocery bags are used each year, and around 16 million straws are used daily, according to government figures, with these single-use plastics making up the bulk of the plastic waste found on the coasts of Canada.

“With these new regulations, we are taking a historic step in reducing plastic pollution and keeping our communities and the places we love clean,” said Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault.

Global efforts continue on how to tackle the material that takes centuries to degrade.

According to a congressional report released last year.

The United Nations earlier this year laid the groundwork for an ambitious and legally binding treaty to reduce plastic waste. The global treaty to “end plastic pollution” could lead to caps on plastic production or impose rules to make plastic easier and less toxic to reuse.

However, the treaty proposals are tentative and have been pushed back by the oil and petrochemical industries.

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The coronavirus pandemic has also been seen by environmentalists as a step backwards in the global plastics crisis for many countries. The use of disposable masks and personal protective equipment has led to a sharp increase in pollution, with some 8 million tonnes of pandemic-related plastic waste created by 193 countries, according to a global study published last year. Much of the trash ended up in the oceans, threatening to disrupt marine life and pollute beaches.

Greenpeace Canada welcomed Ottawa’s decision, but said the country still needed to do more.

“The release of the regulations is a crucial step forward, but we’re not even at the starting line yet,” Sarah King, the environmental group’s oceans and plastics campaign manager, said in a statement. “The government must step up a gear by expanding the ban list and reducing overall plastic production.”

The Sierra Club Canada Foundation, an environmental charity, also called on the Canadian government to take “even faster action to stem the tide of plastic pollution.” He said public pressure was growing and suggested the product list be expanded to include tumblers, cigarette filters and single-serve packets.

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The United States contributes more to the polluting deluge than any other country, generating about 287 pounds of plastic per person per year.

Piecemeal efforts have been put in place by some states, with New York implementing a ban on single-use plastic bags in 2020. Earlier this month, a California bill was introduced to reduce the production of plastic for single-use products such as shampoo bottles and food packaging. by 25% from the next decade.

The Biden administration this month issued an order to phase out single-use plastic products and packaging on public lands by 2032, according to a statement from the Interior Department. This includes plastic and polystyrene food and drink containers, bottles, straws and cups, he said.