Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will ban single-use plastics — like bags, straws and cutlery — in Canada as early as 2021.
Trudeau made the announcement during a stop at the Gault Nature Reserve in Mont St-Hilaire, just outside Montreal, on Monday.
A full list of banned items isn’t yet set in stone, but a government source told CBC News that list could also include items like cotton swabs, drink stirrers, plates and balloon sticks. Fast-food containers and cups made of expanded polystyrene, which is similar to white Styrofoam, will also be banned, said the source.
Trudeau said the government will research what items it should ban, and they’ll follow the model chosen by the European Union, which voted in March to also ban products made of oxo-degradable plastics, such as bags.
He also revealed intentions to make companies that manufacture plastic products or sell them to take responsibility for recycling their plastic waste.
Countries move to curb marine litter
Environment and Climate Change Canada says 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 U.K. and the European Union signed on to the Ocean Plastics charter at the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Que., last June, agreeing to find ways to deal with marine plastics litter.
All those countries have moved to curb plastic pollution, some of them with laws to reduce the consumption of plastics.
A report done earlier this year by consulting firms Deloitte and ChemInfo Services and commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada found that in 2016, only nine per cent of plastic waste was recycled in Canada and 87 per cent ended up in landfills.
Canada has recently been roasted in international headlines after dozens of containers of rotting garbage and contaminated recyclables sat festering in the Philippines.
The company that sent the mislabelled containers is no longer operating and Ottawa is spending $1.14 million to bring those cargo containers back to Canada for disposal.