StopPlastics’ written response to Federal Government consultation on plastic


1. The proposed federal ban covers six items:  

  • checkout bags
  • cutlery
  • foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics
  • ring carriers
  • stir sticks
  • straws

2.  It will be implemented by regulation rather than statute

3.  Will come into force late 2022 (probably)

4. Relies heavily on recycling to the with the other plastic not included in the six item ban (recycling now referred to as “the circular economy”)

5. The six item bans are the result of hundreds of scientific studies which confirmed that plastic is everywhere and is environmentally harmful

6.  Federal plan will increase mandatory recycled content to 50% by 2030; achieve a recycling target of 90% for plastic bottles; prohibit misleading recycling labelling (I guess they mean the chasing arrows)

7.  The government’s own news release clearly states that as well as devising its own schemes, it depends on other levels of government to do their part “At the local level, municipalities such as Vancouver and Toronto are implement strategies to reduce single-use plastics, better prevent and manage litter, and improve the management of plastic waste”


StopPlastics’ response

The  proposed plan for an integrated management approach to plastic products will not solve Canada’s plastic crisis and it will exacerbate the climate crisis because:

  • The Government has not taken into consideration that plastic production harms the environment through-out all phases of its production (not just when it becomes waste) ie during extraction, transport, refining, production, distribution, consumption, disposal 
  • The plastics industry  intends to ramp up plastic production to replace the fading oil & gas sector– in the US there are plans to build over 300 petrochemical plants by 2030. It seems that the Fed Gov  is signalling its support for these  types of practises since it proposed to ban only 6 items and focus on a circular economy (recycling). This will lead to more plastic production than ever before– in fact the Federal Government proposes that by 2030, manufactured plastic must have a 50% recycled content BUT it is expected that plastic production will triple by 2050  SO  in spite of, or because of the government’s efforts, we’ll increase plastic production by 150% !!!!!

Please note this definition of a circular economy: “A circular economy is an economic system of closed loops in which raw materials, components and products lose their value as little as possible, renewable energy sources are used and systems thinking is at the core”. 

And consider this explanation of what happens to plastic during the recycling process: ”Plastic molecules are long and flexible, and they change structurally when subjected to thermal and mechanical stress during melting and extrusion. … This type of degradation is called “heat history” in the plastics recycling trade. The deterioration accumulates with each reprocessing and is irreversible.”

Also consider that: “The same piece of plastic can only be recycled about 2-3 times before it degrades to the point beyond usability. Even if it were to be used for the same purpose, it would be combined with virgin resin to improve its quality.”

Clearly, plastic cannot be included in a circular economy since it loses its value every time it is recycled and can be recycled only a very few times.

  • the government must end fossil fuel subsidies, not support them by allowing them to transition into more plastic production
  • recycling doesn’t work in part because it’s cheaper to use virgin feedstock
  • how will the gov’t prevent plastic coming from and going to other countries?
  • the amount of health and environmental issues plastic creates costs more than the recycling industry makes 
  • there is no way to make plastic sustainable

“The only way to stop plastic from overwhelming our oceans, polluting our land and making the world a worse place is to shut the system, the entire system down”.

It is taking the government too long to implement its plastic reduction strategy.  We need a plan to come into effect no later than 2022.  Outright bans are the only way to change behaviour but the proposed list of banned items is terribly insufficient.  Styrofoam must be included as one of the items in the first round of bans.  We don’t need to be manufacturing more plastic.  There are non plastic alternatives for most plastic items.

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