Moving Canada toward zero plastic waste: what we heard from you

From April 22 to September 21, 2018, Canadians were invited to share their views on the topic “Moving Canada Toward Zero Plastic Waste.” In total, we received over 1,900 comments and emails and 12,000 campaign letters. Here is what we heard from you!

  • Canadians are aware that plastic pollution, waste and heavy consumption of single-use items is an issue that needs to be addressed promptly in Canada and around the world.
  • We also recognize there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to plastics pollution. The most common suggestions, not in any particular order, include:
    • Improving recyclability and packaging standards
    • Increasing access and incentives to use environmentally-sound alternatives, such as reusable items and compostable plastics
    • Implementing limits or fees on single-use plastics and packaging (e.g. prohibit the sale of non-recyclable packaging)
    • Investing in improved recycling programs and infrastructure
    • Increasing awareness of plastic waste and solutions through educational campaigns

Are your views represented in the content? If not, you can still share your comments via email to: ec.plastiques-plastics.ec@canada.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada thanks you for your input on Moving Canada toward zero plastic waste.

Here is what we heard on Sustainable Design and Production of Plastics!

Before buying items containing or made from plastic, you consider:

  • The amount of packaging
  • Available and affordable alternatives
  • If it is recyclable
  • If it is a want or a need

You feel that:

  • There are limited alternatives to plastic packaging
  • Many products have excessive packaging

You are suggesting that:

  • Government reduce plastic packaging through regulations, bans, levies or standards
  • Industry be involved in finding solutions by creating accessible, affordable and environmentally-sound plastic alternatives, ensuring products can be recycled and reused, using clear labels, and minimizing plastic packaging
  • Research and development should help create solutions
  • Education and awareness can help encourage individuals to further reduce, reuse and recycle plastics
  • Government work with industry to reduce plastic production and consumption through monetary incentives, compliance monitoring, and enforcement measures
  • Government set limits on single-use or non-recyclable plastics

"Government can regulate packaging companies to consider recycle regulations that ensure manufacturers are able to pay the price of returning these materials back to a Canadian facility for reuse” -Doug

Are your views represented in the content? If not, you can still share your comments via email to: ec.plastiques-plastics.ec@canada.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada thanks you for your input on Moving Canada toward zero plastic waste.

Here is what we heard on Collection and Management of Plastics!

You feel that:

  • There is more information available on “recycling” than the other “Rs”: reducing and reusing
  • More federal guidance and support for recycling programs are needed, especially in smaller or remote municipalities
  • Recycling protocols are difficult to follow and should remain consistent between municipalities
  • Individuals and industries do not feel motivated to recycle
  • Collection and management needs to improve so waste is not exported

You are suggesting that:

  • There should be mandatory and easy-to-understand recycling labels, such as “flexible”, “rigid”, “landfill” or “blue bin”
  • There should be a rewards/penalty system to encourage recycling and knowledge on what is or is not recyclable
  • Government invest in recycling infrastructures and facilities based on collection and recycling standards applied across municipalities
  • All retailers need to contribute in the elimination, reduction, and collection of plastic waste and packaging

“Businesses should be recycling like the rest of us. I have worked at a few places- coffee shops and retailers- where there is no such concern from them.” - Hana

Are your views represented in the content? If not, you can still share your comments via email to: ec.plastiques-plastics.ec@canada.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada thanks you for your input on Moving Canada toward zero plastic waste.

Here is what we heard on Sustainable Lifestyle and Education on Plastics!

You feel that:

  • There are limited or no alternatives to environmentally-sound and affordable plastic products
  • Canadians need to know more about the plastic lifecycle, recycling, and the environment
  • It is difficult to reduce your consumption of plastic, even as a conscious consumer
  • Restrictions on single-use plastics will support a more sustainable lifestyle

You are suggesting that:

  • Government support education campaigns on plastics, recycling, repurposing, and environmentally-sound alternatives through channels such as social media
  • Government increase monetary incentives to encourage participation in programs such as “Bring your own container/mug” and deposit returns
  • Government restrict single-use products such as straws, bottles and bags with consideration given to accessibility needs
  • Industry be required to take a strong role in facilitating a more sustainable lifestyle and should ensure all products available are recyclable and reusable

 

“Increasing options for reusable packaging, biodegradable packaging, etc. These could be mandatory limitations the government places on grocery stores and industries.”- Elizabeth

Are your views represented in the content? If not, you can still share your comments via email to: ec.plastiques-plastics.ec@canada.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada thanks you for your input on Moving Canada toward zero plastic waste.

Here is what we heard on Research and Innovation on Plastics!

You feel that:

  • More can be done with what we already know
  • Research and innovation are important to find and inform solutions for a zero plastic waste Canada

You are suggesting that:

  • Government support innovative businesses who are addressing plastic waste and take the initiative to reduce, reuse, and recycle
  • Government develops measurement tools, common language (“compostable” and “biodegradable”), best practice guidelines, and report and audit standards for plastics
  • Technology be used to redesign the plastics lifecycle, create a market for all recycled plastics, and address current limitations such as more efficient recycling methods for collecting and, sorting waste and avoiding contamination of recyclables
  • Alternatives such as incineration, plastic-eating bacteria and plant-based materials should be evaluated and considered

“Research and innovation needs to be mandated by the government.  We should move to get rid of all plastics that are disposable.”- James

Are your views represented in the content? If not, you can still share your comments via email to: ec.plastiques-plastics.ec@canada.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada thanks you for your input on Moving Canada toward zero plastic waste.

Here is what we heard about On the Ground Action for Plastics!

You feel that:

  • Communities and businesses are not participating in recycling together which is discouraging to the individual
  • There is not enough discussion around plastics, their lifecycle and how to implement the 3 “R”s (reduce, reuse, recycle)
  • Everyone is responsible: Government, plastic producers, and retailers need to take on a larger role in the solutions for zero plastic waste

You are suggesting that:

  • Organizations run educational campaigns on the plastics lifecycle, recycling and its impacts to encourage collective responsibility over plastic waste
  • A sharing-based economy be supported where infrequently used items like tools, camping equipment or kitchen items can be shared
  • Individuals can encourage each other to take steps such as purchasing in bulk with reusable containers and refusing single-use plastics
  • Restrictions or fees to discourage the use of single-use plastics

“Every community organization, clubs, rate payers associations, Halls should be challenged not to use styrofoam, plastic cups, straws etc. as this is a most visible engagement with the community and incentives would help with converting public apathy.”- Carmen

Are your views represented in the content? If not, you can still share your comments via email to: ec.plastiques-plastics.ec@canada.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada thanks you for your input on Moving Canada toward zero plastic waste.

Here is what we heard under Tell Us More!

You feel that:

  • Single-use plastics and plastic packaging needs to be addressed immediately
  • There are not enough environmentally-sound plastic-free or plastic alternatives
  • The environment needs to be protected

You are suggesting that:

  • The Government of Canada needs to lead internationally and domestically on creating and implementing solutions to plastics management
  • Industry take responsibility for their product when they become waste
  • New markets be created for recycled plastic products and alternatives
  • Consumers reduce their dependency on single-use plastics

"I would like to see us reach a point where Canada contributes 0% of the waste found in the world’s oceans, but I’d also like to see us take a leadership role in reducing the global impact.” - Justin

Are your views represented in the content? If not, you can still share your comments via email to: ec.plastiques-plastics.ec@canada.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada thanks you for your input on Moving Canada toward zero plastic waste.

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