JUN 10, 2019 2:16 PM PDT

Canada Joins the Fight Against Single-Use Plastics

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

As announced today by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada aims to ban single-use plastics by 2021. Lakeside at the Gault Nature Reserve outside of Montreal, Trudeau stated “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.”

According to his announcement, Canada currently recycles less than 10% of plastic waste. He also noted that Canada throws away 8 billion Canadian dollars’ worth of plastic material each year. He hopes that this legislation will reduce pollution, generate revenue through recycling materials, and create 42,000 jobs in the process. The law will make businesses responsible for the plastics that they’re manufacturing and introducing to the marketplace. The Canadian government intends to determine which single-use plastics will be eliminated scientifically.

His announcement comes a few short months after the European Union introduced single-plastic legislation in March of this year. Canada is likely to follow the example set by the EU in which 10 of the most commonly discarded single-use items were banned; including plastic cutlery, plates, plastic straws, plastic balloon sticks, and plastic cotton-swab sticks. The EU legislation also hopes to phase out plastic bottles by 2029. According to the new law, by 2025 plastic bottles must contain 25% recycled material and 30% by 2030. The European Commission estimates that more than 80% of marine litter is plastics, and the EU law covers 70% marine litter items.

The United Nations Environment Program estimates that more than 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year. Not only unsightly, but plastic pollution also causes harm to wildlife and when degraded into smaller particles microplastics can pollute soil, fish, fresh water, and the air. Because of this, single-use plastics bans are catching on worldwide. In February of this year, California introduced legislation to phase out single-use plastics by 2030. According to a recent report from the United Nations Environment Program, 127 countries have passed legislation to regulate plastic bags. Twenty-seven countries have passed legislation to ban specific products and impose taxes on manufacturers.

Sources: Reuters, NY Times, UNEP, European Parliament

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
You May Also Like
JAN 19, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 19, 2020
Flying Foxes Must be Careful of Crocodiles When Hydrating
Flying foxes absolutely despise the Sun, and with that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that they look for shade whenever possible. One pro...
JAN 20, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 20, 2020
Horned Lizards Do Anything to Protect Their Eggs From Predators
When a female horned lizard lays her eggs, she finds herself up against several predators that want to devour them. Fortunately, the female horned lizard d...
JAN 21, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 21, 2020
The sinking Everglades
New research from the American Society of Agronomy reports that the Everglades are sinking. According to scientists who have been studying the unique lands...
JAN 26, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 26, 2020
The Life of an Arctic Squirrel
There is no overstating the fact that the Arctic Tundra is a cold and unforgiving place. There are few plants or animals that can survive in this extremely...
MAR 21, 2020
Earth & The Environment
MAR 21, 2020
Polluted sea ice will harm Arctic countries
New research published in the American Geophysical Union journal Earth’s Future warns that Arctic communities are expected to be negatively impacted ...
APR 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
APR 05, 2020
This Bird Can Mimic Almost Any Sound Accurately
Birds of all kinds are renowned for their calls, songs, and relentless chirps. Some birds use their calls to communicate with one another, while others use...
Loading Comments...