In an effort to combat climate change and plastic pollution, the Canadian government announced on Monday that it would ban the manufacture and important of single-use plastic items such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery and food-service items that are made from or contain plastics that are hard to recycle by the end of 2022.
Some exceptions will be made for medical reasons. The ban will come into effect in December of this year, while the selling of these plastic items will be prohibited from December 2023 to make the transition easier for businesses and to deplete existing stocks, said to the government.
According to government data, around 15 billion plastic checkout bags are used annually in Canada, while Canadians use 16 million plastic straws every day. A tweet from prime minister Justin Trudea read: “We promised to ban harmful single-use plastics, and we’re keeping that promise.” In addition to the before-mentioned bans, Canada has also announced that it will stop exporting these plastic items by the end of 2025.
Sarah King, head of Greenpeace Canada’s oceans and plastics campaign, commented that the ban is an important step but that “we aren’t even at the starting line.” “The government needs to shift into high gear by expanding the ban list and cutting overall plastic production. Relying on recycling for the other 95% is a denial of the scope of the crisis,” she said.
In Wales, it also looks like a single-use plastic ban could very well become reality in the near future. Julie James, Wales’ climate change minister, said that single-use carrier bags and plastic wet wipes could be added to a plastic ban that was initially planned for 2021 but was delayed by post-Brexit legislation.
While England and Scotland have already implemented bans on items such as straws and cotton buds, Wales has been criticised in the past for not implementing one yet.
In a letter to the Senedd’s climate change committee, Julie James now argued that the legislation will come this term which ends in 2026. A passage in the letter said that the legislation should “include a ban on the sale of wet wipes which contain plastic and single-use plastic carrier bags in the planned legislation”.
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Photography courtesy of Unsplash.