The country plans to ban single-use plastics — checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and even foodware made from hard-to-recycle plastics — nationwide by the end of 2021.
The move is part of a larger effort by the nation to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030.
The plan also includes improvements to keep “plastic in our economy and out of our environment,” he said.
Canada and plastic waste
In addition, single-use plastics have three key characteristics that make them a target of the ban, according to Wilkinson.
“They are harmful in the environment, they are difficult or costly to recycle and there are readily available alternatives,” he said.
“The rest goes to landfills or into our environment,” said Wilkinson.
Coronavirus and plastic PPE
As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, personal protective equipment has become a part of people’s day-to-day lives.
Wilkinson clarified that the single-use plastic ban would not affect “access to PPE or any other plastics used in the medical environment.”
Nevertheless, he said the government is keeping an eye on pollution stemming from the use of protective equipment.
“We did discuss pollution considerations relating to PPE at the Canadian Council of Environment Ministers meeting earlier this summer,” Wilkinson said. “We committed, with the provinces and territories, to working together and with industry to ensure that we can properly dispose of PPE so that it does not end up in our natural environment,”
“We are also investigating solutions to recycle PPE where it is safe to do so, and add options to make some of the PPE biodegradable,” he added.