Have you ever look in your trash can or blue bin and counted all the single-use plastic? I have. And trust me, it’s a lot. Most of my single-use plastic waste comes from take-out containers, food containers, and plastic bags. The entire food service industry relies heavily on single-use plastic items for their low-cost, durability, and the convenience of disposal. All the environmental impacts can be overlooked for the luxury of convenience… but not for long. The government of Canada has announced a single-use plastic ban that will affect common single-use plastic items. Here is what we can expect from the new ban.
The ban was announced by Justin Trudeau on October 7th and the government will be accepting recommendations by Canadians and stakeholders in industry until December 9th, 2020. Despite having recycling programs in Canada, only 9% of plastic actually gets recycled. Polystyrene, for instance, is widely used in take-out containers and packaging, and is considered to be non-recyclable in most municipalities. The government has set out the plastic ban to address this issue. This low recycling rate will likely get worse as China and other countries have begun banning imports of recycled plastic due to contamination issues. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson said that “every year, Canadians throw away about three million tonnes of plastic – the equivalent of 570 garbage bags full of plastic every minute, every day.” Single-use plastics contribute to a number of environmental problems; most of the plastic litter found in our lakes, and rivers is single-use plastics. A well implemented ban could help solve many problems facing our environment today.