Statement from Oceana Canada in support of draft federal regulation banning some harmful single-use plastic items

Press Release Date: December 21, 2021

Ottawa, ON — In response to the release of the federal government’s draft regulation detailing the much-anticipated ban on plastic straws, stirrers, six-pack rings, cutlery, checkout bags and some takeout containers in Canada, Oceana Canada released the following statement from Ashley Wallis, Plastics Campaigner:

“Today, Oceana Canada welcomes the release of the federal government’s draft regulation banning some harmful single-use plastics. This is a critical step in addressing Canada’s contribution to the global plastic pollution crisis and an action widely supported by the Canadian public. We are pleased to see the government restricting unnecessary single-use plastics, especially items that are commonly found in the environment and our oceans. Every year, 3.3 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated in Canada, and less than nine per cent of it is recycled. Recycling alone won’t solve the plastic disaster.

Ultimately, we need to reduce plastic production and use. Banning unnecessary single-use plastics is a great place to start. We urge Environment and Climate Change Minister Guilbeault to make Canada’s ban as strong as possible before finalizing it, to give Canada a fighting chance in the face of a global disaster that is devastating the world’s oceans and marine life.

This is a time for bold federal leadership, and the regulations as written fall short of what we know is needed, and possible. While single-use plastic straws are set to be banned one year after the regulation is finalized, the remaining items – stirrers, six-pack rings, cutlery, checkout bags and some takeout containers – won’t be banned for an additional year – likely not until mid-2024. The federal government first signalled its intention to ban harmful single-use plastics in June of 2019 and announced the items it intended to ban last October, more than a year ago. There is no excuse for further delay. Two more years without action means another 30 billion plastic bags will end up in Canada’s landfills, incinerators and environment.

We are pleased to see that the ban on takeout containers includes items made from expanded polystyrene (i.e., Styrofoam), black plastic and plastics that are designed to fragment quickly into harmful microplastics. However, the government must include more of the single-use plastic items commonly found polluting our oceans, including takeout cups and lids and some flexible plastic packaging. Less than one per cent of flexible plastic packaging is recycled in Canada, despite it being one of the deadliest forms of plastic for marine life.

This government has science and public opinion on its side. Public polling conducted earlier this year by Abacus Data found that 90 per cent of Canadians support a federal ban on single-use plastics, and two-thirds think the ban should be expanded to include more items.”

Oceana Canada is asking Canadians now to help urge our government to impose a strong single-use plastic ban by signing its petition at www.Oceana.ca/EndthePlasticDisaster. Find out more about Oceana Canada’s campaign to stop single-use plastic pollution at www.oceana.ca/Plastics.

Contacts: Kathleen Munro, Pilot PMR, kathleen.munro@pilotpmr.com, 902-789-3165 and Tammy Thorne, Oceana Canada, tthorne@oceana.ca, 437-247-0954

 

Oceana Canada was established as an independent charity in 2015 and is part of the largest international advocacy group dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana Canada has successfully campaigned to end the shark fin trade, make rebuilding depleted fish populations the law, improve the way fisheries are managed and protect marine habitat. We work with civil society, academics, fishers, Indigenous Peoples and the federal government to return Canada’s formerly vibrant oceans to health and abundance. By restoring Canada’s oceans, we can strengthen our communities, reap greater economic and nutritional b