Environment Canada to release science review backing plastics ban

An audit found less than 10% of the plastic products used in Canada are recycled.

January 30, 2020   by Mia Rabson

OTTAWA — Environment Canada has released scientific evidence to back up the government’s bid to ban most single-use plastics next year.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last June the government was getting ready to prohibit the production and sale of single-use plastics in Canada, such as drinking straws, takeout containers and plastic cutlery.

The first step in the process requires a scientific assessment under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Today, Environment Canada officials will release the results of that work.

A recent audit of Canada’s plastic production and recycling industries done for the department found less than 10% of the plastic products used in Canada are recycled.

In 2016, 3.3 million tonnes of plastic ended up in the trash – 12 times the amount of plastic that was recycled.

A small amount of plastics is burned for energy at five Canadian waste-to-energy plants.

Almost 90% of the plastic recycled in Canada is from packaging.

Canada’s domestic recycling industry is quite small, with fewer than a dozen companies. Most of Canada’s plastics destined for recycling end up overseas, where tracking what happens to them is difficult. Many end up being burned or thrown into trash piles somewhere else.

The audit found it is usually cheaper and easier to produce new plastic and throw it away than it is to recycle, reuse or repair it.

In 2018, when Canada hosted the G7 leaders’ summit, Canada and four other leading economies signed a charter pledging that by 2040 all plastic produced in their countries would be reused, recycled or burned to produce energy. The United States and Japan stayed out.


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2 Comments » for Environment Canada to release science review backing plastics ban
  1. Mark Bernier says:

    This is no surprise. Outside of major metropolitan areas it is neither logistically nor financially viable to recycle much of anything. At current pricing short steel and aluminum are the only things worth the freight of hauling them to where they can be recycled. Everything else is recycled on the backs of the property owners via increased taxation.

  2. When I worked with the Chemical Industries Division – Plastics Section of Environment Canada (I retired in 2016) I said many, many times that all plastics should be collected and used as fuel for power generation. Trying to separate all the different plastics such as PE, PVC, PP, PS is futile and a waste of money. Plastics cannot be infinitely recycled as metals can.
    Just how much GHG emissions are produced from the recycling trucks diligently driving from house to house and collecting and emptying blue boxes?

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