A plan Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in 2019 to ban six types of single-use plastics in Canada to reduce environmental pollution officially begins next week, starting Dec. 20.
By 2025, the government says, Canadians will no longer use, sell, buy, import or export plastic bags, most plastic straws, cutlery, take-out food containers, stir sticks and six-pack ring carriers. Stand Mirror
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Despite the environmental motivation for the policy, the government’s own impact analysis says this ban will almost double the amount of garbage generated over 10 years, to 2.9 million tonnes, up from 1.5 million tonnes.
That’s because the waste will be created by using alternative materials to single-use plastics such as as paper, wood, moulded fibre, aluminum and alternative plastics.
Because these are more expensive, the change will cost Canadians about $2 billion, or $50 per capita.
Even with estimated savings of $616 million from eliminating these six single-use plastics, the net cost is estimated at $1.4 billion.
While eliminating these single-use plastics will cut about 1.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, some of the substitutes will have a higher climate change impact.
Finally, removing these six single-use plastics — which doesn’t include single-use plastic water bottles — will take about 160,000 tonnes of garbage out of our waste stream, just 5% of the 3.3 million tonnes of plastic waste disposed of in Canada each year.
Most of that is landfilled. Only 29,000 tonnes escapes into the environment as litter, while just 2,500 tonnes ends up as marine pollution, which globally is a serious environmental concern.
A more effective way for Canada to reduce global plastic pollution would be to stop exporting 100,000 tonnes of our plastic waste every year to developing countries.
Ostensibly, this is for environmentally responsible disposal, but some of these countries are now shipping our unwanted plastic waste back to Canada, saying a lot of it is mislabelled as recyclable.
There’s also the problem of illegal exports of plastic, done without permits.
Instead of addressing these issues by stopping these exports and disposing of waste plastic ourselves, the Trudeau government has opted for yet another expensive, virtue-signalling campaign to ban six types of single-use plastics, that won’t address plastic pollution effectively.
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