Canada to ban single-use plastics in 2021

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The federal government has announced its intention to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021.

And yet now, Trudeau has apparently discovered after nearly four years in power with a majority government, during which time he could have actually done something about it, that single-use plastics are an environmental crisis, and he has the solution, if only Canadians will re-elect him on October 21.

"Plastic waste ends up in our landfills and incinerators, litters our parks and beaches, and pollutes our rivers, lakes, and oceans, entangling and killing turtles, fish, and marine mammals", the Canadian leader said in a statement.

"You've all heard the stories and seen the photos".

"How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches around the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags?" he said.

Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna said it is time to act.

-Over the last 25 years, almost 800,000 volunteers have removed over 1.3 million kilograms of trash from across Canada's shorelines through Ocean Wise and World Wildlife Fund's Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup program, supported by the Government of Canada.

A full list of banned items isn't yet set in stone, but a government source told CBC News that list could include items like plastic straws, cotton swabs, drink stirrers, plates, cutlery and balloon sticks.

The announcement also revealed that the government would work with the provinces and territories to introduce standards that would make companies responsible for their plastic waste.

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At the last G7 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 US and Japan to the Covenant not joined.

The non-binding Ocean Plastics Charter called on participating countries and the European Union to commit to making all plastics reusable, recyclable or recovered by 2030.

A total of 21 governments have by now taken that pledge, Trudeau said.

Public consultations will help determine which single-use plastics will be banned.

In Australia, Hobart has become the first capital city set to ban single-use plastics, including takeaway food containers and straws.

China's decision to ban most plastic waste imports previous year helped spur the EU's ban, and is having wide-ranging effects in North America. The NDP had earlier said it would ban single-use plastics by 2022 if elected.

But single-use plastics isn't the only problem. It has also taken steps to ban other specific plastics, such as the tiny microbeads found in some bath and beauty products. Oxo-degradeable plastics including plastic grocery bags, which break down into tiny pieces with exposure to air but never fully disappear, are also to be banned.

But Trudeau said a "national solution" was needed. Without a change in course, Canadians will throw away an estimated 11 billion Canadian dollars (about 8.2 billion US dollars) worth of plastic materials each year by 2030.

If he wins the election, Scheer vows to roll back environmental protections, including a federal carbon tax and a tanker traffic ban along a pristine part of the Pacific coast.

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