by Morinville News Staff
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that the government would ban single-use plastics by 2021 as well as a move to hold manufacturers responsible for waste.
“Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution, and are tired of seeing their beaches, parks, streets, and shorelines littered with plastic waste,” Trudeau said in a news release Monday. “We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce plastic pollution, protect the environment, and create jobs and grow our economy. We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come.”
The government says less than 10 per cent of plastic used in Canada gets recycled.
Canadians throw away more than 3 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, according to the feds. About one-third of plastics used in Canada are for single-use or short-lived products and packaging. Approximately 15 billion plastic bags are used annually.
Trudeau’s plan would see a ban on single-use plastics as early as 2021. Although a specific list of items was not made available, the plan would look at plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks.
Additionally, the feds would work with provinces and territories to introduce standards and targets for companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging, so they become responsible for their plastic waste.
The government says the Canadian plan will align where appropriate with similar actions happening in the European Union and other countries.
The Conservative Party of Canada was quick to respond Monday with criticism.
Scheer said Trudeau has had three-and-a-half years to come up with a concrete plan to deal with the environment but has chosen to spend his time “chasing headlines and jet-setting to international photo-ops with celebrity friends.”
The Conservatives view Trudeau’s announcement as a “cynical re-election gimmick which will do nothing to reduce plastic waste and clean up litter in our parks and waterways.”
In a Backgrounder issued to media Monday morning, Canada’s Official Opposition asked several questions they say the Liberal plan does not answer.
The Conservatives see a ban on plastic bags as impacting Canadian small business owners offering affordable options for customers and question what the costs will be to Canadian businesses and consumers.
With 60 per cent of plastics in oceans coming from five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, the Conservatives argue the Trudeau plan will have little impact and that real global solutions are needed.
The Conservatives also say Canadians want to take action close to home to build a better environment and criticized the Prime Minister for not addressing the root of the problem – plastic waste recycling in Canada?
With plastic manufacturing being one of Canada’s fastest growing sectors, the Conservatives are questioning the government’s plan for the 93,000 Canadians employed in the industry through 1900 companies.
Since January 1, 2018, China stopped accepting the bulk of plastics from other countries, launching a North America-wide problem on what to do with plastics for both recycling centres and municipalities offering recycling programs.