Inspired by EU, Canada will ban single-use plastics as early as 2021, Justin Trudeau (President) announced.
“As early as 2021, Canada will ban harmful single-use plastics from coast to coast,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau said his government is drawing inspiration from the European parliament, which voted overwhelmingly in March to impose a wide-ranging ban on single-use plastics to counter pollution from discarded items that end up in waterways and fields. Legislatures of the EU member states must vote on the measure before it takes effect.
Trudeau announced the move from the banks of a lake in Gault nature reserve in Quebec less than five months before a national election in which climate change and pollution are among the top campaign issues.
“To be honest, as a dad, it’s tough trying to explain this to my kids. How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches around the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags?” Trudeau said.
“As parents we’re at a point when we take our kids to the beach and we have to search out a patch of sand that isn’t littered with straws, Styrofoam or bottles. That’s a problem, one that we have to do something about.”
Less than 10% of plastic used in Canada gets recycled. The government said that 1m birds and over 100,000 sea mammals worldwide are injured or die each year when they mistake plastic for food or become entangled.
The EU’s measure would affect a range of plastic products for which reasonable alternatives exist, from straws to earbuds, starting in 2021.
Disposable utensils would not be completely off-limits, but the EU measure calls for them to be made of sustainable materials when possible. The EU legislation also sets a goal of having 90% of plastic bottles recycled by 2025 and of halving the litter from the 10 items that turn up in oceans most often.
The EU estimated the changes will cost the bloc’s economy €259m to €695m a year ($291m to $781m). It’s not clear what the cost would be for Canada.
China’s decision to no longer import some of the EU’s waste helped spur the plastics ban.
China banned the import of plastic waste last year, causing other south-east Asian countries to become new destinations. The Philippines, complaining of being treated like a dumpsite by wealthier nations, shipped 69 containers of what its officials called illegally transported garbage back to Canada in May.
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