canada single use plastic ban

Canada's ban on single-use plastics comes into effect this week

You'll soon be hard-pressed to find plastic checkout bags and plastic forks in Canada.

The federal government announced earlier this year that it would ban the manufacture and import of single-use plastics by December.

Now, as December 20 approaches, consumers in Canada can expect to find more sustainable solutions available soon.

The ban includes:

  • checkout bags
  • cutlery
  • food service ware made from or containing problematic plastics that are hard to recycle
  • stir sticks
  • straws (with some medical and accessibility exceptions)
  • ring carriers (to be enacted June 2023)

These categories of single-use plastic items were identified for elimination because they are "commonly found in the environment, are harmful to wildlife and their habitat, are difficult to recycle, and have readily available alternatives," Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said in a release issued Saturday.

According to ECCC, this "world-leading ban on harmful single-use plastics will result in the estimated elimination of over 1.3 million tonnes of hard-to-recycle plastic waste and more than 22,000 tonnes of plastic pollution, which is equivalent to over one million full garbage bags."

The regulations are being phased in, and this is the first step.

The sale of flexible straws packaged with beverage containers (i.e. juice boxes) will be prohibited in June 2024. Then, by the end of 2025, Canada will ban all six categories of single-use plastics for export.

These regulations are just one step that the federal government is taking toward its goal of zero plastic waste. Other plans in the works include a 90% target for recycling plastic beverage bottles and better regulations to define labelling recyclable and compostable plastics.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, in a release, said that "with this ban… we're joining the global effort to reduce plastic pollution and protect our wildlife and habitats. There is a clear linkage between a world free of plastic pollution and a sustainable world, rich in biodiversity—a world that also best supports the health and economic security of Canadians, protects our environment, and helps in the fight against climate change."

Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos added that they're expecting "to avoid 1.3 million tonnes of plastic waste over the next ten years across Canada, leading to less pollution and healthier communities."

Lead photo by

Nick Fewings 

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