Canada is taking a huge step toward creating a more sustainable future by planning to ban harmful single-use plastics by the end of 2021. This includes checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery, and food ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics. The nation’s ultimate goal is to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030.
Canadian Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a news conference Wednesday, “Plastic pollution threatens our natural environment. It fills our rivers or lakes, and most particularly our oceans, choking the wildlife that lives there. Canadians see the impact that pollution has from coast to coast to coast.”
In June 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the country’s plastic problem as one “we simply can’t afford to ignore.”
Canadians throw away more than three million tons of plastic waste every year, only nine percent of which is recycled. Single-use plastics in particular have been targeted for the ban because they’re harmful to the environment, are difficult or expensive to recycle, and there are easily accessible alternatives.
The ban will not affect access to PPE or other plastics used in medical settings, which have become essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.