Canada’s ban on single-use plastics is now in effect, starting with the manufacture and import-for-sale of certain products.
The prohibition on several categories of plastics begins Dec. 20, affecting a range of products from checkout bags and cutlery to takeout containers and stir sticks. A ban on the sale of these products starts a year later, in December, 2023.
The move is part of an effort by the federal government to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030, citing the impact that plastics have had on the environment through pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Here are the products that are subject to Canada’s single-use plastics ban, starting Dec. 20:
Checkout bags made entirely or in part from plastic and used to carry purchased goods from a business will be subject to the Dec. 20 ban on manufacture and import for sale.
The ban also includes fabric bags that cannot meet a stress test, meaning they can’t break or tear if carrying 10 kilograms over a distance of 53 metres, 100 times, or when washed.
The ban on cutlery includes single-use plastic knives, forks, spoons, sporks and chopsticks that contain either polystyrene or polyethylene, or that change their physical properties when run through a household dishwasher 100 times.
The prohibition includes clamshell containers, lidded containers, boxes, cups, plates and bowls made entirely or in part from plastic and designed for serving or transporting ready-to-eat food or beverages.
These products will be subject to the ban if they contain: expanded or extruded polystyrene foam, the latter commonly referred to as Styrofoam; polyvinyl chloride, often used in salad containers; carbon black or black plastic food containers that usually come with a transparent lid; or oxo-degradable plastic.
All types of plastic stir sticks, designed to mix beverages or prevent them from spilling from a lid, will be banned under the federal government’s current regulations.
The prohibition includes straight plastic drinking straws that contain polystyrene or polyethylene, or which can’t be run through a dishwasher 100 times.
Single-use plastic flexible straws, not packaged with a beverage container, are excluded under certain conditions, such as to accommodate people with disabilities.
A retail store, for example, may sell a package of 20 or more single-use plastic flexible straws if a customer asks and the package is not displayed publicly.
The manufacture and import-for-sale ban in Canada is the first step. Consumers will slowly see the phase-out of these products over the next year as industries and businesses deplete their stock and turn to sustainable alternatives.
A ban on the sale of these products begins on Dec. 20, 2023, while a prohibition on the manufacture, import and sale for export of these plastics is due to take effect on Dec. 20, 2025.
A prohibition on the manufacture and import for sale in Canada of ring carriers or six-pack rings, used to carry aluminum cans and plastic bottles, will begin on June 20, 2023. Their sale will be banned by June 20, 2024, while their manufacture, import and sale for export will be prohibited starting Dec. 20, 2025.
With files from The Canadian Press
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