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Sign now to ban single-use plastic in Canada

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:

  • The United Nations names plastic pollution as the second greatest threat to the environment after climate change;
  • The federal government has drafted single-use plastics regulations as a step towards eliminating harmful plastic pollutants;
  • The proposed federal regulations contain loopholes in the definitions which will allow manufacturers to create more durable single-use plastics, including cutlery and plastic bags;
  • The definitions exclude common plastic litter, such as single-use hot and cold beverage containers and lids, and packaging for consumer goods;
  • The proposed regulations allow for the continued manufacturing and export of harmful single-use plastics;
  • These regulatory loopholes will contribute to the creation of more problematic plastic pollution entering the marine and terrestrial environment;
  • Canada needs to create stronger regulations to eliminate plastic pollution;
  • Other jurisdictions, including Chile and the European Union, are leading the way on single-use plastics bans with regulations that Canada could use as an example to build on; and
  • Advocates in Canada, including Oceana Canada, strongly support strengthening the federal government’s proposed regulations.

We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:

1. Strengthen regulatory definitions to include more harmful single-use plastic items and close loopholes that currently allow plastic items to be replaced with more durable problematic plastic;

2. Remove the exemption that allows banned products to continue to be manufactured and exported;

3. Revise the retail sales exception on single-use plastic straws so people needing them for medical purposes can request them;

4. Implement a clear and staged action plan to eliminate single-use plastics by 2030; and

5. Bring these proposed regulations into force six months after they are published.

Phase One of Canada’s Single-Use Plastic Ban: Facts & Alternatives

The first phase of Canada’s Single-Use Plastic Ban includes checkout bags, cutlery, takeout items, plastic aluminum can ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws. However, the six items being banned only account for about 3% of the total amount of plastic waste created in Canada. Nevertheless, this first phase is a step in the right direction, although Canada’s single-use plastic ban can be more aggressive with shorter timelines and more single-use plastic items.

Have you thought about what you will do or use as alternatives as these items slowly phase out? We’ll outline the six items in the first phase of the ban and the other options or ways we can adapt and make this an easy transition. 

Checkout Bags 

Fifteen billion plastic bags are used every year in Canada, and these same plastic bags are also one of the significant sources of plastic found on our shorelines. Bringing your reusable bags is not something new to the citizens of Canada. In a survey conducted in 2019, 96% of Canadians shared that they bring their bags to grocery stores, but only 43% of them shared that they always do. There are many alternatives to plastic checkout bags, such as cotton, paper, polypropylene and polyethylene, and we collectively need to work towards bringing bag alternatives when we go shopping. 

Stir Sticks 

Stir sticks have become a memento for several individuals, restaurants and bars across Canada but will no longer be used. Instead, you may need to resort to bamboo or wooden sticks or stainless steel cutlery to stir your drinks in the future.

Plastic Aluminum Can Ring Carriers

Can rings will soon become an idea of the past as large to small companies phase out plastic can rings when packing beverages. Some large corporations have already committed to transitioning to fully recyclable and sustainably sourced cardboard-wrap carriers in 2022. Other innovative companies are exploring other alternatives like surplus barley straw packaging. 

Takeout Items

Plastic takeout items are used in many restaurants across the country, and we do not doubt this will be a difficult switch and transition for restaurants and venues. However, with the support of reusable takeout container services in Canada like Suppli, Reusables, Friendlier and Retournzy, we can work towards mitigating the amount of plastic waste being produced in the food industry. These companies have introduced programs that allow you to enjoy plastic-free packaging takeout and participate in the circular economy. 

Cutlery

4.5 billion pieces of plastic cutlery were sold in 2019 in Canada. Instead of missing plastic cutlery, there are a few best practices and alternatives like 1) choosing not to add any plastic cutlery to your order when ordering in, 2) choosing recycled, biodegradable or compostable cutlery whenever possible, 3) BYOC or Bringing Your Own Cutlery whether that be utensils from home or a compact kit you can carry around with you, and 4) exploring edible cutlery. 

Straws

While there will be a general ban on plastic straws, it should be made known that straws WILL still be available for accessibility and medical reasons, and that’s been recognized by the Government of Canada. There will also be caveats or provisions to the bans if it means protecting vulnerable groups, and that’s okay! We consider this a win and an opportunity to design packaging that is both inclusive and supports a waste-free future.

As you can see, these are significant items being phased out, but we must do more. We must accelerate the ban timeline and be more aggressive toward creating positive change. 

NoSUP Canada is petitioning to strengthen regulations, close loopholes in the ban, and implement a clear action plan to eliminate SUPs by 2030. The deadline to sign is September 22 at 12:10 p.m. ET!

References: 

CBC/Radio Canada. (2022, June 21). Government will ban some single-use plastics over the next 18
months | CBC News
. CBCnews. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/plastics-ban-countdown-1.6494379 

CBC/Radio Canada. (2022, July 9). Plastic ban stirs up emotions for swizzle stick collectors | CBC News.
CBCnews. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/swizzle-stick-collector-plastic-ban-1.6515419 

CBC/Radio Canada. (2022, July 7). What’s the best alternative to a single-use plastic bag? it depends |
CBC news. CBCnews. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from
https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/single-use-plastic-bag-alternatives-1.6511415 

Jiménez, J. (2022, March 30). Soda and beer companies are ditching plastic Six-pack rings. The
New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/30/us/beer-soda-plastic-rings-recycling.html 

How to organize a cleanup

Beach cleanups, park cleanups and trail cleanups have been a popular part of environmental conservation for decades. Plogging — derived from the Swedish words for “pick-up while jogging” — has become a movement worldwide where individuals collect garbage while running, jogging, walking, and even scuba diving. While we recognize that cleanups don’t deal with the root causes of the generation of plastic waste in the first instance, cleanup activities can have several benefits, including:

  • Helping build awareness of plastic waste in our cities and natural environments.
  • Contributing to cleaner community spaces — the less garbage in public areas, the less litter left there.
  • Getting out and active, whether alone or with family, friends, or the wider community.

Confronting the extent of plastic waste while doing cleanups in Honduras, South Africa, Taiwan, and Canada led our founder, Karen Farley, to look at ways to tackle the issue of plastic waste at its source leading to them starting NoSUP Canada.

If you would like to organize a cleanup event, here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Encourage participants to wear long pants and closed shoes and bring a reusable water bottle and a plastic-free snack.
  2. Consider providing garbage bags approved for your area, gloves and pick-up sticks — some municipalities may offer cleanup materials, for example, garbage bags.
  3. Know how to identify potentially harmful plants, for example, giant hogweed or poison ivy.
  4. Leave hazardous waste behind, for example, hypodermic needles — some municipalities have information on their websites on how to report these items.
  5. Dispose of garbage collected responsibly; municipal websites may have information on garbage collection from cleanup events.
  6. Set targets, with or without small prizes, for family-friendly fun, for example:
  • Collect a certain amount of garbage type, such as ten plastic bottles.
  • Sort garbage into types or colours.
  • Find the most unusual garbage item.
  • Create an art project with the trash collected.
  • Clean a small area in a specified amount of time.

7. Take photos and share them on social media to build greater awareness of the plastic waste problem and show others just how much fun you had. Don’t forget to tag @nosupcanada and use the hashtag #saynosup!

The Origins of Plastic Free July

Every year, over 100 million people participate in Plastic Free July in over 190 countries worldwide. 

But how did this begin? 

It all started when Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, the founder and current Executive Director of the Plastic Free Foundation, visited a recycling facility in Western Australia and witnessed the amount of waste produced. She was overwhelmed by the amount of plastic that existed. 

This led her to challenge herself to go plastic free the following month. She rallied 40 individuals from her community in Western Australia, including friends, family and local government and unknowingly created a formal challenge that would soon become a global movement. 

This movement has led to impactful changes such as reducing 2.1 billion tonnes of waste and recycling and reducing global demand for bottled water, fruit and vegetable packaging and plastic straws. However, with plastic production estimated to quadruple by 2050, this is simply not enough. We can continue to do better! 

For that reason, NoSUP Canada has started a petition to strengthen regulatory definitions around the ban on single-use plastics in Canada. Consider signing Petition E-4029 today to apply pressure to the Canadian government further to implement a meaningful action which includes: 

  1. Strengthening regulatory definitions to include more harmful single-use plastic items and close loopholes that currently allow plastic items to be replaced with more durable problematic plastic; 
  2. Remove the exemption that allows banned products to continue to be manufactured and exported; 
  3. Revise the exception of the retail sale on single-use plastic straws to people needing them for medical purposes can request them; 
  4. Implement a clear and staged action plan to eliminate single-plastics by 2030; and 
  5. Bring these proposed regulations into force six months after they are published. 

Contribute to change this Plastic Free July and beyond! 

Tempus. (June 2021). Tempus News – a positive change: Rebecca Prince-Ruiz writes about the power of Plastic Free July. tempus. Retrieved July 2022, from https://tempusmagazine.co.uk/news/a-positive-change-rebecca-prince-ruiz-writes-about-the-power-of-plastic-free-july  

Prince-Ruiz, R. (2021, November 19). July is plastic free month! Medium. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from https://blog.streamlabs.com/july-is-plastic-free-month-5e43fd516ae5 

About. Plastic Free July. (2022, July 8). Retrieved July 18, 2022, from https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/about-us/  

Unpacking Canada’s Single-Use Plastic Ugly Truth

Canada has a plastic problem with an overreliance on single-use plastic.

3.3 million metric tons of plastic are disposed of in Canada each year.

50% of the plastic used in Canada is for single-use items.

Only 9% is recycled, with the remainder ending up in landfills or polluting land and waterways.

And plastic waste is projected to increase by thirty percent over the next decade.

NoSUP Canada aims to eliminate single-use plastic in Canada*.

*NoSUP recognizes that single-use plastic items are used by some groups of the Canadian population and will work to ensure any ban on SUP allows for exemptions for these groups.