The federal government’s zero plastic waste policy is a step in the wrong direction
MONTREAL, May 12, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – The MEI published a study today which reveals that the federal government’s “zero plastic waste” policy puts it in opposition to current and potential innovations from the plastics industry. Politics will hurt the economy with no guarantee of helping the environment.
“The government’s zero plastic waste policy will hurt Canada’s economy and workers, and create uncertainty for investors, who may choose to put their money elsewhere,” said Gabriel Giguère, public policy analyst at the IEDM and author of the study. “And that won’t exactly help the country improve on private investment; Canada already has the worst record in the OECD.”
“Plastic is an incredibly strategic industry, and the growth projections for the use of plastic in manufacturing and the economy in general are very positive. It is an essential material that is needed by modern society and whose use is likely to continue to increase, or even double, in 2050.”
A New Life for Plastic: An Alternative Strategy for Climate Change and Food Waste Reduction
There is no guarantee that a ban on plastic shopping bags, like grocery bags, will reduce the country’s carbon footprint. In Californiafor example, the ban on plastic bags did not have the expected effects, since the 40 million tonnes of plastic bag waste eliminated was offset by a 12 million tonne increase in the use of thicker bin bags , which emit more greenhouse gases.
In Canadathe plastics industry is committed to producing only fully recyclable and returnable plastic bags by 2030. And we can expect more innovations from this industry as well. Modix Plastic, for example, recovers the bags and transforms them into hard granules which are reused to manufacture automobile parts or certain packaging. It’s a technology that helps breathe new life into plastic bags and reduce the environmental impacts of plastic.
According to Giguère, “Another issue is that for certain reusable cotton bags to be less harmful than single-use plastic bags for human health and ecosystems and to consume less fossil fuels, these cotton bags must be reused between 100 and 3,657 times, equivalent to 2 to 70 years of weekly use.”
Single-use plastic also helps minimize food waste. It is estimated that 11.2 million tonnes of waste could be avoided, enough food to feed all Canadians for nearly five months. The government should take this into account when developing its zero plastic waste policy, so as not to ban single-use plastics which contribute to reducing food waste.
The federal government should consider the following solutions, which would help reduce plastic waste without penalizing industry stakeholders and Canadian consumers:
- Delete the “manufactured plastic articles” label from Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and ending the ban on the six single-use plastic products currently covered by the federal policy.
- Stimulate innovation by using tax reductions or credits, not subsidies, to encourage the implementation of new or proven technologies and increase recycling rates.
The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent public policy think tank. Through its publications, its appearances in the media and its free advisory services offered equally to all political decision-makers, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies and reforms based on the established principles of the market economy and entrepreneurship.
SOURCE Montreal Economic Institute
For further information: Interview requests: Josée Morissette, Senior Advisor, Media Relations, Cell: 418-929-5291, Email: [email protected]