Share and view ideas: Moving Canada toward zero plastic waste

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

Current status: Open

Opened on April 22, 2018

Share your 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.

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

  • 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
  • At this rate, plastics could outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050
  • 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 

Join in: how to participate

Individuals can make a big difference by reducing the amount of single-use plastic products they use (like disposable coffee cup lids, straws and packaging) – but we also need to take action as a country.

That’s why the federal government, through Environment and Climate Change Canada, is asking Canadians to share their ideas and suggestions, through email, mail and PlaceSpeak, an online engagement platform. Your feedback will help develop a federal-provincial-territorial approach to manage plastic waste and reduce marine litter.

To learn how we will protect your privacy during this consultation, read our privacy statement.

Share your ideas online

Visit PlaceSpeak to find additional information and have your say about what Canada can do to improve the management of plastic waste and reduce marine litter.

Send us an email

Send an email to ec.plastiques-plastics.ec@canada.ca with your ideas or suggestions.

Participate by mail

Share your ideas and suggestions in a letter, sent to the address in the contact information.

Who can participate in this consultation

We want 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?

Contact us

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

Email: ec.plastiques-plastics.ec@canada.ca

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