Plastic straws, grocery bags among first items to go under proposed federal ban

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The federal government has laid out its plan to ban some single-use plastics. The list includes grocery bags, stir sticks, six-pack rings, plastic utensils, and plastic straws.

“They are harmful to the environment, they are difficult or costly to recycle, and there are readily available alternatives,” Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said of the plastics on the list.

Should all go according to the government’s plan, the aforementioned items will be banned as of the end of next year.

“Regulations with respect to this ban will be finalized by the end of 2021,” Wilkinson, who is the MP for North Vancouver, said on Wednesday.

The final science assessment on plastic pollution was published on Wednesday, outlining the government’s plans.

“Canadians throw away about three million tonnes of plastic waste every year, which is equal to 570 garbage bags full every minute, every day, and only nine per cent of that plastic is presently recycled,” Wilkinson said. “The rest goes to landfills or into our environment.”

In addition to harming the environment, Wilkinson said single-use plastics also cause “significant harm to wildlife.”

Wilkinson urged the need for action to keep plastics out of the environment.

“Particularly to marine life, who often ingest plastic or become entangled in it,” he explained, adding microplastics are also a concern.

“Microplastics are everywhere, in food, in bottled water, in tap water, both indoor and outdoor air. And the longterm, potential health effects of micro plastics are not yet clear.”

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