Canadian Single-Use Plastic Ban Estimated to Save $11 Billion Annually

Canadian Single-Use Plastic Ban Estimated to Save $11 Billion Annually
(Photo: Plastic ocean waste in Canadian artist and author Douglas Coupland’s “Vortex” exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium in 2018. Credit: Steven Lee, Flickr Creative Commons)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this week that the government intends to ban single-use plastics within the next two years. Although he didn’t specify all the products that would be outlawed, Trudeau said that if nothing changes, Canadians will toss an estimated $11 billion worth of plastic materials annually through 2030.

Speaking in front of a lake in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Trudeau vowed Monday to work with governments and businesses across Canada to “ban harmful single-use plastics as early as 2021 — such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks — where supported by scientific evidence and warranted, and take other steps to reduce pollution from plastic products and packaging.”

He also promised to work with provinces and territories on introducing standards and targets for the companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging “so they become responsible for their plastic waste.”

Under the new measures, Trudeau expects large corporations to be held responsible for what they produce, CTVNews reported.

“He acknowledged there could be challenges for small businesses, but said the government’s focus will be on holding large manufacturers, ‘the Coca-Colas and Unilevers of the world’ responsible for the plastics they produce,” CTVNews journalist Meredith MacLeod wrote.

She added that the plastics industry accounts for about $35 billion in sales and nearly 100,000 jobs in the country.

Although the scientific analysis is pending, the New York Times reported that Trudeau is likely to follow the European Union’s example. In March, the European Parliament approved a law to ban single-plastics that goes into effect in 2021. The 10 categories of banned products include cotton buds, drink stirrers, cutlery, plates, straws, oxo-degradable bags as well as expanded polystyrene food and drink containers.

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