Canada’s upcoming plastic ban will contribute approximately nothing

Can you imagine your life without plastic straws, grocery bags, and cutlery? Well, you should be able to and you’re gonna have.

Last week, Environment Minster Jonathan Wilkinson said six single-use plastic products that will be banned by the end of 2021. Among them are the aforementioned items, as well as plastic stir sticks, six-pack rings, and food take-out containers. Good, if a bit late.

“There are lots of (plastics) that are going to have to continue to be single use. “But they need to be the kinds of things that we are able to recycle, that we are able to keep in the economy and not end up in the environment where they cause problems,” said Wilkinson, adding that “we are not leading the world in this.”

According to a recent report by the Library of Parliament, Canada accounts for 0.4% of worldwide ocean plastic pollution. Not great, not terrible. Microbeads have been banned in Canada since summer 2018.

The ban is part of a larger goal by the federal government to see zero plastic waste in landfills by 2030. So far, Canada is on track to achieve this goal. Nevertheless, the six banned products comprise only a “fraction” of a per cent of available plastic products on the market. Makes a nice headline and is good for a pat on the back though.

As for concerns about how the ban might affect trade or the economy, Wilkinson assured “readily available alternatives” exist for the six products.

Besides, who could possibly bear the social stigma of drinking from a plastic straw in 2020?