Feds say scientific proof plastic pollution ‘pervasive’

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There is scientific proof plastic pollution is “pervasive in the environment,” the Government of Canada says.

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“Macroplastic pollution is harmful to wildlife and wildlife habitat, and single-use plastics, such as checkout bags, and food and beverage service items, make up the bulk of macroplastics found on shorelines in Canada and internationally,” the government said in a news release.

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“Organisms can ingest or become entangled in macroplastics, which can result in direct harm and, in many cases, loss of life. Plastic pollution may physically damage habitats and transport non-native species to the area, which could transmit diseases to wildlife and possibly lead to a loss of biodiversity.”

There are six types of plastics that are being called prohibited and they include checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics, ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws.

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To allow industries to adapt to the changes, the regulations will be implemented on the following phased timeline.

“The choice and design of future instruments to address plastic pollution from other single-use plastics will build on the Roadmap to Strengthen the Management of Single-use and Disposable Plastics released by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment earlier this year,” the report says.

“The Roadmap identifies some 30 single-use and disposable plastics and provides guidance on prioritizing those items for targeted management and selecting instruments that may be effective for managing each of them.”

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This publication is part of the governments’ planned implementation of the Canada-wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste to move Canada toward its goal of a zero plastic waste future.

“As part of Canada’s ongoing comprehensive agenda to reduce plastic waste and pollution, the Government of Canada is continuing to bring forward new measures to prevent plastic pollution, better manage plastics, and transition to a circular economy,” the report states.

“These measures include developing regulations to set minimum recycled content requirements for certain products, and to establish new labelling rules for recyclability and compostability. The Government is also establishing a federal plastics producer registry and working with industry to establish a strong target for collecting plastic beverage containers for recycling.”

Restaurants Canada would have wanted a more gradual approach to new plastics regulations.

“Above all, Restaurants Canada will continue to call for a ‘do no harm’ approach to any new government policies impacting foodservice operations as our members continue to focus on survival and recovery from the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Restaurants Canada says. “We will continue to work closely with the government to ensure our concerns are recognized.”


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