Canadians appear to be slowly cutting back on their use of plastic straws and grocery bags ahead of a national ban on such items that will take effect next month, new statistics show.
The Canadian government is looking to curb domestic plastic pollution by the end of the decade as negotiations toward a formal plastics management treaty begin this week in Uruguay.
Canada is one of nearly three dozen countries lobbying heavily for an international agreement that would end global plastic pollution by 2040.
"Enough is enough," Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said in a tweet.
About 22 million tonnes of plastic ends up where it shouldn't every year, including in lakes, rivers and oceans worldwide, he said. In Canada, about 29,000 tonnes of plastic garbage, mainly packaging, ends up in the environment each year.
Another 3.3 million tonnes of plastic garbage ends up in landfills. Less than one-tenth of the plastic Canadians throw out is actually recycled.
In a bid to cut down on all plastic waste, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in 2019 that some single-use plastics would be banned by 2021. It took the government a year longer than it planned to figure out which items to ban and how to do it.
The final regulations were published in June, and as of Dec. 20, it will no longer be legal in Canada to manufacture or import most plastic shopping bags or straws, along with stir sticks, cutlery and takeout containers. One year later, the sale of those items will also be banned.
The manufacturing and importing of six-pack plastic rings for drink containers will be banned in June 2023, with their sale ending a year after that.
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