On Monday, Canada published its final regulations banning “harmful” single-use plastics, such as plastic straws, bags, and takeout containers.
The government said in a statement that the ban would also include plastic cutlery, ring carriers, and stir sticks.
The legislation will ban the import and manufacture of such plastics in December but will allow for their continued sale for another year.
The government noted that the delay in banning sales of these products would give Canadian businesses sufficient time to consume their existing inventories and transition to new ones.
Canadian health minister Jean-Yves Duclos said, “Only 8% of the plastic we throw away gets recycled.”
He added that every year 43,000 tons of single-use plastics end up in the environment, especially in waterways.
In 2020, the Canadian government said it planned to impose compulsory standards on the amount of recyclable plastic content allowed in packaging and other products, adding that the government wanted new rules in place within two years.
By the end of 2025, Canada plans to prohibit the export of these items, making Canada “the first among peer jurisdictions to do so internationally,” an official statement said.
As Canada gave details of the ban, grocery store and restaurant executives cautioned that there are not enough alternatives to single-use plastics.
“You can’t put soup in a cardboard box,” said Olivier Bourbeau, vice president of national affairs for Restaurants Canada. “You can’t just put fries in people’s hands.”
According to figures published by the Canadian government, as many as 15 billion plastic checkout bags are used in Canada each year, and about 16 million straws are used daily.
The new regulations do not include bans on plastic packaging for consumer goods, which are the primary source of plastic waste globally.
Still, Canada pledged to ensure all plastic packaging contains at least 50% recycled content by 2030.