Canada progresses nationwide single-use plastics ban

Despite opposition from industry groups and provinces, the Government of Canada is moving forward with a comprehensive plan to address plastic pollution.

 

On 21st December, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Health announced draft regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) banning certain single-use plastics deemed to be harmful.

 

The proposed regulations would ban the manufacture, import and sale of checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware, ring carriers, stir sticks as well as straws. The regulations do not apply with respect to PMI that are manufactured, imported or sold for the purposes of exporting although it requires that records be kept on those items.

 

Recognizing the use of single-use flexible plastic straws by medical patients and people with certain disabilities, the proposed regulations provide exceptions for these straws to ensure that they remain available, under certain conditions. Prohibitions on manufacture and import do not apply to single-use flexible plastic straws, and sales of these items are allowed in non-commercial, industrial and institutional settings (IC&I), in packages of 20 or more items at retail, or within care institutions.

 

The government proposes a one-year transition between the final publication of the regulations and their coming into force. The transition period would allow businesses time to transition away from single-use plastics and deplete current stocks of the items to be banned. The government is also expected to publish draft guidance to help businesses adapt to the proposed regulations.

 

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