Change is here: Canada’s ban on certain harmful single-use plastics starts to take effect this month
December 17, 2022 – Montréal, Quebec
Canadians want to see an end to the harmful impacts of plastic pollution on nature and wildlife and the time to act is now.
As Canada welcomes the world to the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, the Government of Canada reaffirmed its steadfast commitment to address plastic pollution and protect biodiversity here at home, and around the world.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change; the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health; and the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced the next important steps in the Government of Canada’s ban on harmful single-use plastics. Effective December 20, 2022, the manufacture and import for sale of the following harmful single-use plastics in Canada will be prohibited:
- checkout bags
- foodservice ware made from, or containing, problematic plastics that are hard to recycle
- stir sticks
- straws (with some exceptions)
The ban on the manufacture and import of ring carriers will enter into force in June 2023.
Over the next decade, this world-leading ban on harmful single-use plastics will result in the estimated elimination of over 1.3 million tonnes of hard-to-recycle plastic waste and more than 22,000 tonnes of plastic pollution, which is equivalent to over one million full garbage bags.
The Government of Canada will continue to be guided by science as it takes additional measures toward its zero plastic waste goal. The Government is working with provinces, territories, and industry to set an ambitious collection target of 90 percent for recycling plastic beverage bottles. It is also developing regulations to require that certain plastic packaging contain at least 50 percent recycled content and to establish clear rules for labelling recyclable and compostable plastics. Draft regulations are targeted for publication as early as fall 2023. In addition, the Government is developing a plastic registry to hold plastic producers accountable for their plastic waste.
These measures put Canada among world leaders in the fight against plastic pollution and will help to meet the commitments of the Ocean Plastics Charter. Internationally, Canada continues to advance global ambition as a founding member of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution. Canada is working with countries and stakeholders globally to develop an ambitious and effective legally-binding treaty to end plastic pollution. The world must act urgently and concretely to tackle plastic pollution and Canada will continue to be a strong contributor to this effort.
“We promised Canadians we would deliver a ban on certain harmful single-use plastics. Today, we’re following through on that commitment by prohibiting the manufacture and import in Canada of five of the six categories of these harmful single-use plastics. With this ban, and our participation toward achieving a global treaty, we’re joining the global effort to reduce plastic pollution and protect our wildlife and habitats. There is a clear linkage between a world free of plastic pollution and a sustainable world, rich in biodiversity—a world that also best supports the health and economic security of Canadians, protects our environment, and helps in the fight against climate change.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“As climate change continues to pose a serious threat to our health, limiting plastic pollution is crucial not only for our environment, but for our overall well-being. With this ban, we are expected to avoid 1.3 million tonnes of plastic waste over the next ten years across Canada, leading to less pollution and healthier communities.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
“Each year around the world, approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic pollution enters the oceans. The ban on single-use plastics is a significant step the Government of Canada is taking to mitigate this serious threat to the marine environment and protect our critical aquatic ecosystems, so they remain healthy and abundant for the next seven generations.”
– The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“The convenience of single-use plastics comes at a devastating cost to our oceans. Plastic products like six-pack ring carriers and shopping bags are consistently found in the stomachs of whales and around the necks of seabirds. Once in the ocean, plastic can persist for hundreds of years. This ban is the first step toward stopping the problem at its source.”
– Anthony Merante, Plastics Campaigner, Oceana Canada
The six categories of single-use plastic items in the Regulations were specifically selected because they are commonly found in the environment, are harmful to wildlife and their habitat, are difficult to recycle, and have readily available alternatives.
The six categories of single-use plastic include: checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics, ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws.
To provide businesses in Canada with enough time to transition and to deplete their existing stocks, the Regulations will enter into force through a phased approach:
- Starting on December 20, 2022, with the prohibition on the import and manufacture of single-use plastic checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from problematic plastics, stir sticks, and straws; the prohibition on the sale of these items will come into force in December 2023.
- In June 2023, the manufacture and import of ring carriers in Canada will be prohibited and the sale of these items will be prohibited in June 2024.
- As of June 2024, the sale of flexible straws packaged with beverage containers will be prohibited.
- By the end of 2025 the Government will also prohibit the manufacture and import for the purposes of export of all six categories of single-use plastics, making Canada the first among peer jurisdictions to do so internationally. These phased timelines recognize the complexity associated with retooling manufacturing lines for these products.
Exceptions to the ban on straws allow single-use plastic flexible straws to remain available for people in Canada who require them for medical or accessibility reasons. This includes for use at home, in social settings, or in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and long‑term care facilities. All other types of single-use plastic straws will be prohibited.
The Government will use the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Roadmap to Strengthen the Management of Single-Use and Disposable Plastics and robust science and other evidence to analyze potential future actions to target harmful and problematic plastic items.
The 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity focuses on agreeing to a new Global Biodiversity Framework to guide the world’s collective efforts to protect nature and halt biodiversity loss around the globe.
- Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations – Overview
- Canada’s Integrated Management Approach to Plastic Products
- Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations – Technical Guidelines
- Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations – Guidance for Selecting Alternatives
- Fact Sheet: Exceptions for Single-Use Plastic Flexible Straws
- Zero Plastic Waste: Canada’s Actions
- Plastic Waste and Pollution Reduction
- Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution
- Canada’s Plastics Science Agenda
- Ocean Plastics Charter
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
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