Notice of objection: Amcor Packaging Canada Inc. (Amcor Mississauga)
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, P.C., M.P.
Minister of the Environment
c/o The Executive Director Program Development and Engagement Division
Department of the Environment
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3
RE: Notice of Objection and Request for Board of Review in relation to the Proposed Order to add plastic manufactured items to Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 154, Number 41: Order Adding a Toxic Substance to Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
I am the Plant Director for Amcor Mississauga, which is part of Amcor Packaging Canada Ltd. Our parent company is Amcor which is a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging for food, beverage, pharmaceutical, medical, home- and personal-care, and other products. We have 230 facilities in over 40 countries. Last year we had over 12.5 Billion USD in sales.
Amcor is also a member of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada’s (CIAC) Plastics Division, which represents Canada’s leaders in plastics industry sustainability - a $28 billion sector that directly employs over 93,000 Canadians.
Amcor Packaging Canada Ltd.
- formally objects to the Proposed Order
- requests the establishment of a Board of Review to review the recommendation
Requirement for a Proper screening assessment has not been fulfilled:
The final science assessment of plastic pollution is not / does not fulfill the requirement for:
- a screening assessment, and/or
- a screening assessment of all ‘plastic manufactured items’ (insufficient basis for the broad category identified in the Proposed Order)
- a full and proper screening assessment is a key part of the CMP process that should not simply be overlooked. The proposal, as it stands, is overreaching and far too broad to be effective.
A draft screening level risk assessment (DSLRA) would:
- have a different conclusion;
- would not have led to such a broad designation;
- show a significant weight of evidence to suggest that the risk to the environment is not from plastic manufactured items; and
- show that the risk is not related to the physical/chemical properties of the designated items
- clearly identify the target areas, including legislation and government programs to increase recapture and recycling rates.
Other inconsistencies in established CMP process for adding substances to Schedule 1:
- Not offered for public comment in draft form
- A draft would allow environmental, industry experts and the public to help sort through the data to make a more appropriate recommendation.
Fact: Plastic manufactured items are not toxic.
The Proposed Order
- not as specific as Science Assessment, which correctly identifies the potential harm of plastic pollution in the environment
- applies to every single piece of plastic in Canada, without exception, regardless of how it is disposed
- ignores the root cause of plastic pollution and low recapture/recycle rates
Risk to the environment
- does not come from the item, but from behaviours, decisions and/or contract obligations of consumers, waste management groups and municipalities.
- Intervening steps that must occur before alleged risk to environment presents:
- the plastic manufactured item has to be used by a consumer;
- the plastic manufactured item has to be improperly disposed of;
- poor municipal waste management practices could also contribute
- Declaring plastic manufactured items as toxic when these acts contribute to the adverse outcome ignores the true cause(s) of the unacceptable risk OR The true cause(s) of the unacceptable risk are disregarded in this proposal
Tradition of CMP: materials are not found to be toxic when the exposures of concern do not emanate from an intended use
- the identified risk does not come from the plastic item itself; it is from disposal after intended use.
Science Approach Document
- published without a complete view of the best available science OR lacks a comprehensive review of scientific literature
- DSLRA approach would have:
- led to a more fulsome review of scientific literature and application/contextualization to pollution in Canada
- not concluded that all plastic manufactured plastic items have the potential to cause ecological harm
- clearly shown that pollution and poor recapture/recycle rates are a major part of the issue that must be addressed
- designation must be more precise to target individual concerns
- plastics are used in the production of essential food items and food packaging, as well as everyday items like cars, cellphones, cups, electronics/computers, etc. Designating all plastics as Toxic simply misses the mark and ignores the environmental and economic impact of the production and disposal of any potential replacement materials.
Governments continued reliance on Sound Science prior to decision making:
- should be established to review government’s work
- has no vested political interest in the outcome of the investigation
- government admitted to scientific gaps in Science Assessment that preclude the ability to conduct a quantitative risk assessment - panel could fill these gaps
- Moving ahead with significant data gaps is not overly precautionary
- consistent with the Prime Minister’s instructions in the Minister’s mandate letter to ensure that “(t)he Government of Canada is committed to strengthen science in government decision-making and to support scientists’ vital work.”
- ECCC’s Economic Study of the Canadian Plastic Industry, Markets, and Waste (2019) indicates that plastic leakage (pollution) into the environment from Canada is 1 per cent.
In summary, all plastics are not Toxic. That is a fact.
There is no question that a proper screening and science-based approach would allow the Canadian Government to avoid this misstep and seize the opportunities around the root of the issue; pollution. Pollution and improper disposal/recycling practices are the Canadian Governments largest opportunity to make a difference.
If there is any support that myself or the industry experts at Amcor may be able to provide, we are at your service.
Tino Pennino; P.Eng
245 Britannia Road East, Mississauga, ON
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