(UNCEDED COAST SALISH TERRITORIES/VANCOUVER) – In response to today’s release of the draft proposed Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations by the federal government, Greenpeace Canada’s Head of Oceans and Plastic Campaign, Sarah King said:
“The proposed single-use plastics ban regulations are a missed opportunity to signal a true shift to a low carbon, reuse-centered zero waste economy. The ban scope is far too limited, the timeline does not reflect the urgency of the converging waste-climate-pollution-biodiversity global crises, and harmful plastics can continue to be exported. The federal government is not acting like it acknowledges we have a real problem here.
Canadians have been calling for strong and urgent action to tackle our plastic waste and pollution crisis, and today’s proposed ban regulations fall far short of what the public has said they want. Since the Trudeau government announced its intention to ban six single-use plastic items, an overwhelming majority of Canadians expressed support for that list to be expanded. The ban must be comprehensive if we are going to cut our local and global plastic footprint and related climate impact.
The government has not set any production limits on plastic in Canada, letting business as usual continue under the guise of a circular economy for plastics – an oxymoron. The government continues to focus on recycling instead of reduction and reuse, which we know are the key components of any zero waste approach. Canada is currently able to recycle at most 17% of our plastic waste, leaving a steady stream of plastic going straight to landfill, incineration and other climate-harming disposal methods. Relying on a broken model only delays the necessary and inevitable transition to a truly circular, reuse-focused economy.
We annually generate over 3 million tonnes of plastic waste in Canada and this ban covers at most 1 per cent. The federal government boasts a pollution reduction of 23,000 tonnes over 10 years resulting from the ban, but the estimated leakage of plastic into the environment in just one year exceeds that.
We know that big players in the plastic and petrochemical sectors have been lobbying hard against bold action on plastic, and these regulations reflect that. Big oil and big plastic continue to try to keep Canada entrenched in a system that works for their pocket books but not people or the planet. But business models that rely on products and packaging that are not zero waste and reusable should feel threatened because whether they like it or not, the reuse revolution is coming and it’s time for the federal government to intentionally accelerate it.”
Greenpeace is calling for a full phase out of all non-essential plastics, an immediate elimination of petrochemical and plastic subsidies, investment in community-centred reuse-refill infrastructure and a transition to a green and just low carbon, zero waste economy.
The public comment period for the regulations will be open until March 5, 2022. Greenpeace encourages people to call for a comprehensive ban and bolder action by the Trudeau government.
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