‘The devil is in the details’, single-use plastics ban planned for 2021

The federal government announced a plan to ban some single-use plastics by 2021 on Monday.

Public consultations will help determine which single-use plastics will be banned.

Shopping bags, straws, plastic utensils and take-out containers make up more than a third of Canada’s plastic waste, the government says.

More than 34 million plastic bags are thrown out every day, and less than 11 per cent of Canada’s plastics are recycled.

Melissa Gorrie is the co-founder and director of Waste Free Edmonton.  She’s optimistic about the announcement but hopes it created meaningful change.

“We don’t want to just ban one item and then substitute to another type of single-use, disposable item,” she told CTV2’s Alberta Primetime. “We really are concerned with getting away from single-use, throwaway items in general.”

“While this is a great conversation to have, we should be having broad consultation, making sure it’s right before we make blanket statements like they have,” Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon told Alberta Primetime on Monday.

Nixon said increasing recycling overall is something he has his eye on, but he doesn’t want to rush into any decisions.

“There’s large economic impacts that can come from this, everything from small business to our agriculture industry,” he added. “We will continue to call on the federal government to take their time as we go through this process. “

“It’s very early stages.  Obviously 2021 is a long way away and we have a federal election coming up, we’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out. The devil is in the details,” Gorrie said.

Canada is acting on a commitment made at the 2018 G7 Summit, joining France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the European Union in signing the Ocean Plastics Charter.  The U.S. and Japan declined to take part.

With files from the Canadian Press