Canada: Time is Running Out. Take Action on Plastic Pollution Now.

  • by: Environmental Defence
  • recipient: Tell Prime Minister Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Freeland, and Minister Wilkinson

Last June, Prime Minister Trudeau committed to banning single-use plastics as early as 2021. This was a huge win for the environment and a significant step toward zero plastic waste, but time is running out.

Canadians alone throw away three million tons of plastic trash each year and only nine per cent of it gets recycled. Plastic pollution is rapidly piling up around us and it's only going to get worse if we don't act now.

Canada's current system for managing waste is patchy and inefficient. Without national standards, municipalities across the country are left to figure out how best to collect and manage all sorts of plastics.

To make matters worse, there are no regulations to control the kinds of materials being used in plastic packaging. Producers are allowed to put an assortment of tough-to-recycle or problematic plastics on the market, with no accountability on how they will be cleaned up.​

2021 is less than six months away. We can't afford further delays.

The government needs to follow through on its promise to tackle plastic pollution in Canada. The health of our environment depends on it.

Tell Prime Minister Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Freeland, and Minister Wilkinson that federal action on plastics can't wait.

Subject: Federal action on plastics can't wait

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Freeland, Minister Wilkinson, 

The COVID-19 pandemic cannot delay federal action on plastic. We need you to follow through on your commitments to ban harmful single-use plastic products and take steps toward ending plastic pollution.

Canadians generate too much plastic waste. Every year we throw away three million tonnes of plastic trash. Tragically, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the problem worse. The International Solid Waste Association estimates that single-use plastics have increased between 250-300 per cent since the pandemic began. While some of the increase can be attributed to PPE, there has been an overall increase in unnecessary single-use plastics too, such as disposable grocery bags, takeout containers and cutlery. 

We need federal action to stop plastic pollution. That means, transitioning to a low-carbon, toxic-free, circular economy, where we reuse and repurpose materials many times over, before sending them to be recycled. 

We urge you to immediately:

  1. Add plastics to Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

  2. Release a list of single-use plastic items that your government intends to ban in 2021

  3. Establish minimum collection, recycling, and recycled content targets for single-use plastic items not covered by the ban

Our environment needs strong regulation to beat plastic pollution. You have the power to set us on the right path. There is no time to waste.

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