Canada to Ban Single-Use Plastic Items Nationwide by 2021

Justin Trudeau seen after announcing the Canadian government's intention to ban single-use plastics nationwide. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Starting next year, Canada aims to ban all single-use plastic items (e.g. checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, take-out containers, etc.) nationwide. This move, among others, is a part of a larger effort to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030.

According to a United Nations report, over 60 nations have taken steps to reduce single-use plastics, primarily through imposing bans or taxes. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada announced that he'll be taking other, unspecified actions to reduce plastic pollution.

" a dad, it is tough trying to explain this to my kids. How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches across the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags.." - Justin Trudeau

Currently, Canadians throw away more than 3 million tons of plastic waste each year, and only 9% of that plastic is recycled. Having the world's longest coastline, Canada has a unique responsibility in tackling the challenge of plastic waste, according to the Canadian government.

Jonathan Wilkinson, the Canadian Environment Minister, identified three characteristics of single-use plastics that make them a target of the nationwide ban. "They are harmful to the environment, they are difficult or costly to recycle and there are readily available alternatives," he said.

"Plastic pollution threatens our natural environment. It fills our rivers or lakes, and most particularly our oceans, choking the wildlife that live there. Canadians see the impact that pollution has from coast to coast to coast." - Jonathan Wilkinson

In 2018, Canadian hosted the G7 leaders' summit during which Canada and several other nations pledged that by 2040, all plastic produced in their countries would be reused, recycled, or burnt for energy. Seemingly, the Canadian government's major action is placing the nation on track to reach this crucial environmental goal.

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