Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

8 Oct 2020

Plastics ban and a circular economy

Posted by Michael Keating

Canada took a step closer to a circular economy on October 7 with a ban on some plastics and a plan is to encourage recycling of plastic by requiring recycled content in products and packaging. By the end of 2021 the federal government will join some its provinces and cities and a number of other countries with a crackdown on plastics that too often end up as garbage. The ban includes plastic checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery, and food ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics. The move is part of a national goal of zero plastic waste by 2030. It will make producers and sellers of plastic products responsible for collecting them. One goal is to drive investment in recycling infrastructure and spur innovation in technology and product design to extend the life of plastic materials. Every year, Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste. Only 9 per cent is recycled while the vast majority goes into landfills. An estimated 29,000 tonnes ends up litter on fields and shorelines, chokes wildlife and breaks down into minute particles that end up in our food, water and our bodies. According to the Recycling Council of Alberta a circular economy, “keeps products and materials circulating within the economy at their highest value for as long as possible, through reuse, recycling, remanufacturing, sharing and delivering products and services.”

Credit: Troy Mayne

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