Dealing with plastic waste

In October, I wrote about the proposed ban of some single-use plastics announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at that time.

This government proposes, by the end of 2021, to ban some plastics that include grocery store bags, straws, coffee stir sticks, six-pack can holding rings, plastic cutlery and certain food-takeout containers if they are made from hard-to-recycle plastics.

In my October MP Report, I also asked the question “What are your thoughts on this proposed ban of single-use plastics?”

Most citizens I heard from were generally or enthusiastically supportive of this proposal.

In my role as the Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, I have also heard feedback on this proposal from a number of different stakeholders.

The problem: the government plans to amend Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and add these plastics to the list of “toxic” items that are currently banned.

Unfortunately, as critics point out, the science does not support these plastics being on a list that includes toxic items such as asbestos, mercury, acetamide and lead, among other items.

This distinction is being made to point out that the greater risk from single-use plastics is not to human health, but rather the inability to properly dispose of them.

There are also other challenges.

Industry stakeholders have raised concerns that alternatives to single-use plastics could significantly increase the load on local landfills by as much as four times.

There are also technical challenges, as single-use plastics can significantly and economically extend the shelf life of food, as well as providing many important resources in healthcare particularly during a pandemic.

Syringes, PPE and other critically important items depend upon single-use plastics.

In summary, the need for science and a thorough review, as well as detailed consultation, will be of vital importance as we move forward on this subject.

However, one topic that we must act upon now is the importance to deal with plastic waste.

I would also like to commend Conservative MP Scot Davidson from York-Simcoe, who introduced his private member’s Bill C-204 into Parliament.

Bill C-204 proposed that the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 be amended to prohibit the export of certain types of plastic waste to foreign countries for final disposal.

As some may recall in 2019, Canadian taxpayers paid for Canadian waste that was transported to the Philippines to be shipped back to Canada for proper disposal.

It cost $1.14 million to ship 69 shipping containers of garbage from the Philippines Port of Subic Bay to Vancouver, where it was properly disposed of.

Not all of this garbage was single-use plastics, but this example underscores the need for Canadians to deal with our own garbage, much as Bill C-204 proposes, when it comes to plastic waste.

I am pleased to say that Bill C-204 passed in the House of Commons with 178 votes from the Conservatives, Bloc, NDP, Green and Independents all supporting it.

Only the Liberal Government members were opposed.

My question this week:

  • Do you support the principles of Bill C-204?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

MP Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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