Moving Canada toward zero plastic waste: Closed consultation

Current status: Closed

This consultation ran from April 22, 2018 to September 21, 2018.

We asked Canadians to share their ideas about how Canada can reduce plastic waste and marine litter, and help develop a federal-provincial-territorial approach to keep plastic within the economy and out of landfills and the environment.

Since April 22, 2018, we have received over 1,900 comments from Canadians in response to our consultation on moving Canada towards zero plastic waste and over 12,000 campaign letters. Feedback on what we heard from Canadians during the consultation is available under the Overview and Resources sections of PlaceSpeak.

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates, or check back in at Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Who was the focus of this consultation

We wanted to hear from all Canadians.

Key questions for discussion

In consultation with 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.

Tell us:

  • What are the most important issues related to plastics management and marine litter?
  • What do we need to do to achieve zero plastic waste across Canada and to prevent plastics from entering the environment?
  • Who needs to be involved to achieve zero plastic waste?

What we heard

Final reports

Ideas shared

  • Visit PlaceSpeak to find additional information and what we’ve heard from Canadians. The online platform, PlaceSpeak, is now closed for comments.

What is the issue

Plastics are part of the everyday lives of most Canadians. Globally, since the 1950s, plastics production has increased more than any other manufactured material, thanks to their low cost, durability and utility. But 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.

Around the world, people and companies throw away between $100 and $150 billion worth of plastic packaging each year. Plastic waste and marine litter, including microplastics (particles of plastic that are smaller than 5 mm), pose a serious threat to the health of our oceans, waterways and well-being.

Marine litter is a global problem: it’s also found on all of Canada’s coasts and in freshwater areas, including the Great Lakes.

It’s time to take action – together, we can eliminate plastic waste and reduce marine litter in Canada.

Did you know

  • Finding solutions to tackle plastic pollution is a key theme at the G7 ministerial meeting in Halifax this September on climate change, oceans and clean energy
  • Most marine litter (about 80%) enters the water from land
  • Each year, globally, about 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the oceans
  • This is like dumping the content of one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute
  • More than 600 marine species are harmed by marine litter and at least 15% of those are endangered
  • It’s estimated that less than 11% of plastics are recycled in Canada – similar to the global rate of about 9%
  • Worldwide, roughly 90% of new plastic products are made from fossil fuels
  • Recycling 1 tonne of plastics prevents up to 2 tonnes of carbon pollution
  • In 2010, Canada released about 8,000 tonnes of plastic waste into waterways – that’s as heavy as 75 Blue Whales
  • Since 1994, 700,000 volunteers have collected over 1.2 million kg of waste from shorelines across Canada while participating in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup  

Contact us

Plastics Consultation
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd., Place Vincent Massey, 9-064
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3


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