Canada just dropped a bomb on single-use-plastic purveyors.
The government just announced they're banning the importation and production of plastic bags and Styrofoam takeout containers by the end of 2022, their sale by the end of 2023, and their export by the end of 2025.
This latest move comes on the heels of public pressure from environmental groups who weren't happy with the previous timelines set forth by the government. While the ban will face court challenges from the plastics industry, the Canadian government is wisely taking up the fight. By elevating the urgency of this issue, one hope is this move will encourage others to follow their lead, and take more aggressive steps.
There's good reason for politicians move on this. Banning the use of single-use-plastics is one of the most widely popular ideas across the globe. Even in the United States, where support for it is lowest because the leakage problems isn't as bad, it still enjoys a healthy majority of support.
Developed countries with robust waste management systems have been slower to engage in this fight primarily because the environmental hazards aren't always in sight. But as awareness of how bad the problem is abroad grows, tolerance for these products is shriveling, especially as we've become more aware of the impacts they're having on our oceans, lakes, and rivers.
Let's face it, there's little reason to justify using a piece of plastic for 30 seconds if it stays behind for hundreds of years.
That said, getting off our plastic fix won't be easy. There are still a lot of areas, specifically in food packaging, where viable and responsible alternatives are harder to find. To that end, Canada's ban doesn't impact all single-use-plastics, but it does tackle the most problem areas, including:
- checkout bags;
- foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics that are hard to recycle;
- ring carriers;
- stir sticks; and
- straws (with some exceptions).
We here at A New Earth Project applaud their leadership in this fight.