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Analysis: will Canada ban single use plastics?

The media is atwitter with the news that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced Canada will ban single use plastics by 2021. But questions remain about what this will look like, how it will unfold, and if it will happen at all.

The CBC reported today that the government will “research what items it should ban, and they’ll follow the model chosen by the European Union, which voted in March to also ban products made of oxo-degradable plastics, such as bags.”

The CBC also stated a source informed them that the government will also be considering banning items like certain types of fast food containers, cotton swabs and balloon sticks.

However, opposition leaders (who want the Prime Minister’s job) are saying there is no clear plan in place, and commentators note this harkens back to Prime Minister Trudeau’s similarly open-ended promise for electoral reform prior to the last election.

The Facts

Let’s take a look at what the hard facts are from the initial CBC news article:

  • The Prime Minister announced an intent to ban some single-use plastic items by 2021.
  • A full list of items to be banned is not yet available, nor is the plan to create laws or policy.
  • The CBC says the Prime Minister intends to make businesses and corporations who manufacture or sell plastic products take responsibility for recycling their waste.
  • Canada signed on to the Ocean Plastics charter at the G7 conference last year, “agreeing to find ways to deal with marine plastic litter” according to the CBC.

Though the article is long and many people have comments and opinions, there aren’t a lot of facts at this point. Prime Minister Trudeau’s political detractors (those who oppose him) say this is just appealing for votes prior to an election; his supporters say it is an important step forward for our environment.

The Conversation

In politics there is no one right solution, or one correct view. We all see these conversations through the lens of our education and experience (what we’ve learned about in the past affects how we see things now); how do you think this will happen? Will Prime Minister Trudeau, if elected this fall, go forward with the plan? Will it be successful in curbing single-use plastics in Canada and reducing pollution? Is it just trying to say the right thing to get votes? How will this impact people who have medical or other needs for plastic products, and what solutions can we put in place for them? What other solutions can we look at as individuals to reduce plastic pollution?

Remember there are no right answers or solutions, but we can always be kind to each other in our conversations. Leave your thoughts below or talk about it with your friends and family and let us know what solutions you’ll be using to reduce plastic waste.

Michael Howie

Michael Howie is an international award-winning journalist whose background includes work for Torstar, Metroland, and other magazines and publications. He is the producer and host of The Young Defenders podcast, host of the popular Defender Radio podcast, the writer of The Fur-Bearers’ blogs, and contributes to various online publications on behalf of The Fur-Bearers. He is also the primary manager of The Fur-Bearers' social media platforms. Michael has successfully managed a political campaign, worked with various non-profits as a strategic communicator, and performs in the popular End of Times and Other Bothers improvised comedy podcast. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

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