Plastic ban coming in 2021 after report concludes there is evidence of harm

Plastic ban coming in 2021 after report concludes there is evidence of harm
Canadian Press
January 30, 2020
January 30, 2020 5:43 PM EST
Plastics are seen being gathered for recycling at a depot in North Vancouver on June, 10, 2019. Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA — A national ban on many single-use plastics is on track for next year after a government report concluded Thursday that there is more than enough evidence proving plastic pollution is harmful.
“We will be moving towards a ban on harmful single-use plastics and we will be doing that in 2021,” said Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.
The federal Liberals promised last June they’d seek to ban plastic versions of a number of products such as straws, take-out containers and grocery bags. The ban would happen under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which requires a scientific assessment of the problem first.
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A draft version of that assessment was released Thursday. It will be open to public comment until April 1.
The report says that in 2016, 29,000 tonnes of plastic garbage, the equivalent of about 2.3 billion single-use plastic water bottles, ended up as litter in Canada — on beaches, in parks, in lakes, and even, says the report, in the air.
Some of the litter is easily visible: pieces bigger than 5 mm are called “macroplastics.” But much of it is plastic that most of us can’t easily see, known as “microplastics” and “microfibres.” These are tiny remnants of plastic smaller than 5 mm, that come when larger pieces of plastic are broken apart. They are also shed off things like clothes made of synthetic fabric, fleece blankets, and tires.
The science looked at the impact of all types of plastics and concluded that evidence is clear macroplastics are hurting wildlife: Dead birds found with plastic in their intestines, whales that wash up on shore with stomachs filled with tonnes of plastic they ingested as they swam, including flip flops and nylon ropes.
In one case, a turtle was found emaciated and dying. When the plastic was removed from its digestive tract, the turtle recovered.
The evidence is less clear about the harmful impacts of people or wildlife ingesting microplastics, and the scientists recommended further study be undertaken. A new fund of $2.2 million over the next two years will fund research on microplastics.
Wilkinson said the finding on macroplastics is enough to proceed with the ban.
He said the specific items that will be banned are still being worked out with scientists. A list will be released in the next few months, he said.
Plastic bags, straws, bottles and Styrofoam containers meant to be used once and discarded are all expected to be on the list but nothing has yet been confirmed.
Wilkinson said there will be time given to businesses who rely on those products to adapt but he is firm that the government is not going to wait several years.
“I think the Canadian public wants to see action quickly so certainly if there is a phase-in period, it won’t be an extensive one.”
He noted Canadians expect quick action on the file. Some companies are moving on their own. The Sobeys grocery chain is removing all plastic bags from its stores as of Jan. 31, taking 255 million plastic bags out of circulation over the next year. Canadians use as many as 15 billion plastic bags every year.
The Canadian Plastics Industry Association is not in favour of banning plastic items, saying it removes choice and alternatives are often worse.
“Given that scientific and economic studies around the world demonstrate that in most cases plastic packaging, plastic shopping bags and some single-use plastics are a better environmental choice when managed properly, bans are not the answer but rather managing them at their end of life is,” the association says in a statement on its website.
Sarah King, head of the oceans and plastics campaign for Greenpeace Canada, said she doesn’t want the ban to result in alternative single-use items because that would simply be trading in one problem for another.
Rather she said the focus has to be on changing delivery models so we reduce unnecessary packaging and reuse that which cannot be avoided.
King said 2021 is fast enough for a ban to start “as long as the ban list is comprehensive,” and includes both specific products and specific types of plastics.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, however, said there is no reason to wait until 2021.
“We know that single-use plastics will stick around forever,” said Singh. “The idea that plastics and a product that is being designed to be used one time and it will last forever is simply irrational and it doesn’t make sense. We’ve got to put an end to it.”
Wilkinson said a plastics ban is only part of the government’s plan to address the problem of plastic waste. He said there is also work underway with the provinces to make the producers of plastics responsible for ensuring they don’t end up as garbage anywhere.
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.
Sobeys to eliminate plastic bags, but ’Sobeys bag’ lives on in Atlantic Canada
Canadian Press
January 30, 2020
January 30, 2020 4:31 PM EST
A Sobeys grocery store is seen in Halifax on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014.Andrew Vaughan / THE CANADIAN PRESS
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Sobeys will phase out plastic grocery bags across the country this week, but for many Atlantic Canadians the “Sobeys bag” will live on in their kitchen cupboards.
The grocery chain, which grew from a family business founded in Stellarton, N.S., in the early 1900s, announced last summer it would eliminate the plastic shopping bags by February, offering customers reusable totes or paper bags instead.
Sobeys spokeswoman Violet MacLeod said the plastic bags would be removed from stores at midnight on Thursday. She said there are “not many left” in stores but the remaining bags will be sent back to the supplier and recycled.
The deadline has prompted a wave of nostalgia on the East Coast, where the chain’s plastic bags have taken on their own cultural significance and the term “Sobeys bag” has become a generic term for “plastic bag.” The regional semantic change has even been noted in a 2016 entry to the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles.
On social media and radio shows in the region, residents are paying homage this week to the bags, often repurposed to line leaky shoes or cart leftovers home from a family dinner.
MacLeod said the company’s announcement last summer ignited a flurry of conversation about the bag’s significance to the Atlantic region as people shared their personal uses for the bag.
“In Atlantic Canada, we know the bag is iconic. It is well-known and beloved,” MacLeod said in a telephone interview.
“Atlantic Canada is our home, it is the heart and soul of Sobeys. It’s very encouraging and humbling to see customers excited to go on this journey with us, but also looking back and sharing nostalgia about the history of the company.”
The company has said the change will eliminate the use of 225 million bags annually at more than 250 stores across country, 83 of which are in Atlantic Canada.
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The change comes as Atlantic provinces have begun rolling out province-wide bans on retail plastic bags.
Newfoundland and Labrador announced this week its ban would come into effect July 1. Nova Scotia introduced its own legislation last fall.
Prince Edward Island’s plastic bag ban came into effect last summer and MacLeod said the province has been successful a testing ground for the company’s switch.
She said over 90% of customers in Prince Edward Island have since changed to reusable bags and less than 10% have been using paper bags.
Nova Scotia Environment Minister Gordon Wilson said Thursday that the major chain’s move reflects people’s growing desire to reduce their plastic use.
“People have changed the way they walk into grocery stores. I’m seeing more people in places, even when there aren’t bans, that are using alternatives to plastic,” he said.
Wilson said he’s also met with Loblaw representatives who have expressed their interest in pursuing alternatives to plastic.
“It’s encouraging to see that although we do put legislation out there, that the industry … actually likes to lead also,” Wilson said.
MacLeod said plastic packaging remains a “challenge” for grocery stores, but said there are plans to reduce its use in other ways. IGA stores in Quebec, also owned by the company, began encouraging people to bring reusable containers for prepared foods, bulk items and produce.
#3  Top Rated Post
If Vancouver went on an all out attack on rats I'd take their plastic fetish serious.

I get the heebeegeebees just thinking of eating at a restaurant anywhere in the GVR
Recycle them here and quit trying to ship them overseas to make a buck on our garbage.
Rummaging through your trash like a f-cking raccoon and giving away hundreds of dollars in clean and sorted raw materials per year is good for the environment. Lol
Quote: Originally Posted by Twin_Moose View Post

Recycle them here and quit trying to ship them overseas to make a buck on our garbage.

I'm sure somebody is making a buck off the millions upon millions of rats. I've never seen a city with such a rat problem. Its gross.
I just bought a box of sandwich bags at co op. They are normally single use but the box says reusable on it so bypasses the single use ban. Haven't figured out yet how garbage bags are going to survive the ban.
Good luck living without plastic.
Plastic Bags and the Recycling and Reuse Scam

Gosh I sure am glad a bunch of low education enviro-tards talked society out of using paper products. And yet half-wits still listen to them as if they're some sort of environmental gurus. If you're offering no real solutions, then quit demanding the rest of the world meets your view.
Frickin hilarious when right now recyclable bags are not allowed in stores to get groceries, you can only pack groceries out of stores in plastic bags or balance them in your arms without bags.