What is Canada doing about plastic waste?

Plastic pollution affects the marine environment, coastal tourism and human health. For Canadians, plastic plays an important role as it is widely used in personal and industrial products, including food packaging, pharmaceuticals and building materials.

But the use of plastic affects wildlife and the environment. It has become a global problem that requires urgent solutions. In this article, we will learn how Canada is tackling plastic pollution.

Plastics affect oceans, lakes, rivers, plants, wildlife, human life and impact our economy. More than three million tonnes of plastic waste is thrown away by Canadian homes and businesses, and the rest of the plastic waste is generated by the agriculture, electronics and construction sectors.

What is marine litter?

Marine litter is a form of solid waste that has been dumped or released into the environment and affects freshwater and marine ecosystems. A lot of marine litter ends up in the form of plastics of all shapes and sizes.

Marine litter can damage habitats and can also affect fisheries and wildlife. Nearly 29,000 tons of plastic waste has been dumped into Canada’s environment, and nearly 10,000 tons of dissolved plastics in the Great Lakes come annually from Canada and the United States.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup program focuses on removing trash including food wrappers, drink cans, straw, bottle caps, tiny plastics or moss from Canada’s shorelines. This program motivates people to take action to protect water for wildlife and communities.

Also read: What plans and measures is Canada taking to fight climate change?

Canada’s actions for zero plastic waste

Different levels of government, including territorial, provincial and federal, endorsed a pan-Canadian zero plastic waste strategy through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment in November 2018. Different levels of government are focused on a plan to pan-Canadian action on Zero Plastic Waste to implement this strategy. The plan will aim to prevent, reduce, reuse, recover and capture plastic waste and pollution in Canada.

A circular economy

The Government of Canada is taking an approach to solving the problem of plastic waste and pollution by developing a circular economy for plastics where the life cycle of materials and products is extended as long as possible.

The Government of Canada is focused on repairing, reusing, recycling and remanufacturing materials and products following the make-use-return model. It plans to reduce carbon and plastic pollution by 2030 through a circular economy plan for plastics.

Also read: The impact of climate change on the warming of the Winter Olympics?

Ocean Plastics Charter

As part of Canada’s G7 Presidency in 2018, the Government of Canada led the Ocean Plastics Charter which aims to stop the flow of plastic and plastic waste into the environment and follow sustainable ways to control plastic waste.

For the sustainable management, use and production of plastic, the charter brings together businesses, civil society organizations and governments to support its commitments, targets and objectives.

Zero plastic waste by 2030

On October 7, 2020, Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change presented the Government of Canada’s plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. Through this plan, the government will conserve wildlife, water, human life and will create jobs. This plan includes a ban on harmful single-use plastic items, including straws, six-pack rings, plastic checkout bags and others.

Read also : Innergex and TransAlta: 2 CleanTech actions as Canada prepares to ban single-use plastic

Image credit: © 2022 Kalkine Media®
Description of the image: Canada’s actions for zero plastic waste.

The actions of the Government of Canada for an efficient approach to the resources and the life cycle of plastics are as follows:

  • Reduce unnecessary use of single-use plastics.
  • Using Green Public Procurement to Reduce Waste and Support Secondary Plastics Markets
  • Work with industry and different levels of government to recover 100% of all plastics by 2040.
  • Prevent plastic leakage into the marine environment from different sectors including industrial, commercial, construction and automotive sectors.
  • Support research, development and technologies that remove plastics and microplastics from sewage sludge.

At the end of the line

Plastic has become part of life as it is used in our daily products such as cosmetic ingredients, textiles and product packaging. But it has a considerable impact on the environment and becomes a threat to it.

So, to strengthen our economy and preserve wildlife, oceans and human health, we all need to reduce plastic waste and pollution. If we want to have a future without plastic waste, we must change the way we dispose of, use and produce plastics and we must support all industries that reduce plastic waste and focus on reusing and recycling plastic .

Bryce K. Locke