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Canada begins ban on common plastic items

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Dec 21, 2022 - 07:45 AM

TRENTON, Canada (AA) – Canada’s ban on the manufacture and import of many plastic items kicked in Tuesday.

It is not a full ban — some prohibitions do not take effect until 2025 and a full ban five years later — but it does include common items such as plastic bags, as well as single-use plastics like forks, spoons, knives, stir sticks commonly used by coffee outlets and most straws.

Next year, it will also be illegal to sell those items.

The ban fulfills a promise made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019, although it takes effect one year later than pledged in 2021 because of the difficulty in setting up a plan to make it a reality.

There is disagreement on how effective the ban will be in eliminating plastic.

University of Toronto earth sciences professor Miriam Diamond told CTV News that it will have a “sizable effect” on the environment.

“Plastic garbage, 47 per cent of that, is mostly single-use plastic,” said Diamond. “So what this ban will do, it’s intended to remove from the waste stream, about 30,000 tonnes (33,000 tons) of plastic, of which about 29,000 tonnes (32,000) make their way into the environment.”

The Canadian government admitted that overall, only about 3% of plastic waste, or 150,000 tonnes (165,000 tons), will be eliminated.

Some sectors that use the most plastic include packaging, construction and automotive.

Monday’s ban is phase one of a plan to completely eliminate plastic waste by 2030. Some question why it will take so long.

Environment Canada told CBC News it is to accommodate businesses.

“A gradual phase-out allows Canadian businesses to minimize disruption to their operations, while transitioning out of the market for prohibited items in alignment with global market and regulatory trends,” the government said in a statement.

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