Canada Planning Wide Ranging Ban On Plastic Items

Canada is planning to ban a wide range of plastic items starting in 2021.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that his government will ban single-use plastics, including bags, straws and cutlery, within two years A complete list of items that would be banned isn't yet available, but Canadian media is reporting that the list could include items such as cotton swabs, drink stirrers, plates and balloon sticks. Fast-food containers and cups made of expanded polystyrene, which is like Styrofoam, would also be banned.

Trudeau said the government will research the question of which items it should ban and follow the model chosen by the European Union, which voted in March to ban plastic items for which market alternatives exist — such as single-use plastic cutlery and plates — and items made of plastics that are not biodegradable, such as bags.

Trudeau also revealed plans to make companies that manufacture or sell plastic products to take responsibility for recycling their plastic waste. Environment Canada says that Canadians throw away more than 34 million plastic bags every day that often wind up in landfills, and it can take as long as 1,000 years for them to decay.

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the European Union signed on to the Ocean Plastics charter at the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Quebec last June, agreeing to find ways to deal with marine plastic litter.