VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A dozen environmental groups are calling on the federal government to crack down on single-use plastic products like straws, coffee cup lids, and cutlery.
The organizations argue the current plastic recycling rate in Canada is only nine per cent, and some 29,000 metric tonnes of plastic litter enter our rivers, lakes, and oceans each year.
“The marine debris that is piling up is absolutely staggering,” says Lily Woodbury with Surfrider Foundation Canada. “It’s the places that people don’t frequent.”
Specifically, the groups are pushing the government to add any plastic generated as a waste to the Schedule 1 List of Toxic Substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999.
That would allow for laws requiring the producers of such plastics to collect and recycle them, to prevent that waste from being exported to other countries, and ultimately, ban single-use plastics that aren’t collected.
“We’re not saying to completely eradicate plastics, it just comes down to a better management of plastics,” Woodbury says.
“We have a whole nation that is dependent on the health of the waters, so to not go forward on this would be an incredibly irresponsible decision.”
Some corporations and municipalities are already moving ahead with their own single-use plastic bans. Vancouver’s plastic straw prohibition is set to take effect in April 2020.