Federal Leadership Towards Zero Plastic Waste in Canada initiative

The Government of Canada has been a leader in advancing the work to achieve zero plastic waste in Canada. In 2018 as G7 President, it launched the Ocean Plastics Charter, and is currently working with its provincial and territorial partners to implement the 2018 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s (CCME) Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is also leading the three year Federal Leadership Towards Zero Plastic Waste in Canada initiative, to build on the existing work to achieve Canada’s zero plastic waste commitments.  By working with the provinces, territories, industry and civil society the Government of Canada will:

  1. support the development of regulations and voluntary measures, including on single-use plastics
  2. facilitate the development of nationally-consistent Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policies for plastic waste
  3. create market demand through procurement and consistent national standards
  4. support increased scientific knowledge to inform actions and measures
  5. contribute to community-led awareness and clean-up actions

The initiative aims to eliminate or reduce plastic waste, including by increasing waste diversion and the recovery of plastic waste, while also reducing marine pollution and GHG emissions, and stimulating clean growth.

Plastic plays an important part in the lives of Canadians and in the Canadian economy; it is low-cost, durable, and useful in a wide range of applications, from packaging, clothing, medical equipment, and to construction materials. However, the way plastic waste is managed in Canada is an issue of concern. According to a study conducted by Deloitte, over 3 million tonnes of plastics were discarded as waste in Canada in 2016, and only 9% was recycled. Plastic waste burdens our economy, due to the costs to manage it and the value that is lost when plastic is discarded. When leaked into the natural environment, plastics threatens the health of our wildlife, ecosystems, rivers, lakes and oceans. In 2016, 29,000 tonnes of plastic waste entered the environment as pollution. The Federal Leadership Towards Zero Plastic Waste in Canada initiative supports the implementation of the CCME Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste and the Ocean Plastics Charter. It aims to improve how plastics are: designed, made, used, collected, recycled, and recovered, and keep them in the economy and out of the environment.

By reducing the negative impacts of plastics on the environment and supporting the transition to a circular plastics economy, the initiative will help to achieve the following Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goals, and the environmentally-related 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

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