The Government of Canada has taken a major step towards reducing plastic pollution and protecting the environment by introducing the Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations. These regulations ban the manufacture, import, sale and distribution of six types of single-use plastics that are commonly found in the environment, pose a threat to wildlife, are hard to recycle, contribute to the greenhouse gases and take hundreds of years to break down. The six types of single-use plastics that are banned are:

  1. Checkout bags
  2. Cutlery
  3. Foodservice ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics
  4. Straws, with some exceptions like flexible plastic straws
  5. Stir sticks
  6. Six-pack ring carriers*

The regulations were announced June 20, 2022 and will come into effect December 20, 2023, giving businesses and consumers time to adapt and find more sustainable alternatives. The regulations also include exemptions for certain uses of these products like plastic straws such as accessibility or health reasons, or when no viable alternatives are available.

As per one of the 2016 reports, due to the extremely short lifecycle of plastics from packaging (i.e., most plastic packaging is single-use in nature and is thrown away as garbage) compared to plastics from other sectors, packaging accounted for 47% of the plastic waste. The ban on single-use plastics is part of the government’s broader strategy to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. The government recognizes that plastic is an essential material for many businesses of the economy, especially the tourism and hospitality sector. This ban will have significant implications for the tourism and hospitality industry, which relies heavily on single-use plastics for convenience and hygiene.

Why is the ban important for your business?

The ban on single-use plastics is not only good for the environment, but also for businesses. Here are some of the benefits of reducing single-use plastic consumption:

  • Businesses can save money by switching to reusables that last longer and reduce waste disposal costs.
  • Businesses can attract more customers who are environmentally conscious and prefer businesses that share their values and practices.
  • Businesses can enhance their brand image and reputation by showing their commitment to social responsibility and environmental stewardship.
  • Businesses can comply with the law and avoid fines or penalties for violating the ban.

*They can continue to be imported and manufactured for sale in Canada until June 20, 2023 and their sale is not banned until June 20, 2024.

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