Dialogue on Plastic Waste: Online consultation for moving Canada toward zero plastic waste

Backgrounder

Plastics are part of the everyday lives of most Canadians. Since the 1950s, plastics production has increased more than any other manufactured material globally, thanks to their low cost, durability and utility. However, the amount of plastic designed to be used once and then thrown away leads to a significant waste of resources and energy—and the litter can pollute our environment and pile up in our landfills.

Globally, plastic waste and marine litter, including microplastics, pose a serious threat to the health of our oceans, waterways and well-being. Marine litter is also found on all of Canada’s coasts and in freshwater areas, including the Great Lakes.

Canada has made oceans health and addressing plastic pollution a priority under its 2018 G7 Presidency. We are working to reduce plastic waste and prevent its release into the environment.

The Government of Canada is working with international and domestic partners to create a more circular economy—one in which we capture and retain the value of plastics rather than seeing them treated as waste—by:

  • improving how plastics are made, used and recycled; and
  • preventing their release into the environment.

Canada is already a world leader in extended producer responsibility and product stewardship programs. They help shift the financial burden of disposing plastic waste from taxpayers to plastics producers. There are over 160 regulated and voluntary programs of this sort in Canada. They cover more than 20 product categories such as packaging, printed paper, beverage container and electronics in 12 provinces and territories.

In consultation with Canadians, Indigenous peoples, industry, municipalities, non-profit organizations and research institutions, the Government of Canada will work with provinces and territories to develop an approach to keep plastics within the economy and out of landfills and the environment.

The Government of Canada is seeking Canadians’ ideas for potential solutions in the following five areas:

  1. Sustainable design and production — Changing how we create plastics to extend their life and eliminate waste.
  2. Collection and management — Improving how we collect and manage plastics at their end of life.
  3. Sustainable lifestyle and education — Helping consumers and companies to make sustainable choices, raising Canadians’ awareness of the issue, and empowering them to find solutions.
  4. Research and innovation — Strengthening our knowledge and advancing innovation to develop solutions.
  5. Action on the ground — Mobilizing Canadians, including governments, businesses and the public, to keep our environment and waters clean and healthy.

The federal government, through Environment and Climate Change Canada, will be using email, mail and an online engagement platform to hear from the public about the development of this approach.

Join the conversation or send us your input at ec.plastiques-plastics.ec@canada.ca!


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