Canadian Plastics

Canadian jurisdictions react to Chinese bag ban

News of China's decision to ban free plastic bags has some provincial and municipal lawmakers discussing the pros a...

January 14, 2008   Canadian Plastics

News of China’s decision to ban free plastic bags has some provincial and municipal lawmakers discussing the pros and cons of instituting similar measures in Canada.

The Chinese government announced new legislation that restricts the production and sale of single-use plastic bags, leading to calls for similar legislation in Canada.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty reaffirmed the provincial government’s commitment to a voluntary 50 per cent reduction in plastic bag distribution. The program was introduced last year in collaboration with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA).

Meanwhile, in municipalities like Toronto, lawmakers are working on ways to reduce packaging. The city plans on unveiling a reduction strategy for plastic bags and consumer packaging in the spring.

“In Ireland, where they introduced a 20 per cent per bag levy, they’ve had a 90 per cent reduction in the use of plastic bags,” said Toronto councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker to the Toronto Star. “I think that’s an excellent model. It’s one very good option the city is investigating, and may in the end follow.”

Canadian municipalities have played a big role in the recent move to ban plastic bags. Leaf Rapids, Man. became the first North American municipality to institute a plastic bag ban last year. The City of Winnipeg, Man. has also recently hinted that they would consider a ban on single-use plastic bags in the city.

CPIA’s Environment and Plastics Industry Council has been working steadfastly to encourage reduction-based strategies instead of bans and taxes, debunking myths about plastic bags along the way.

For instance, EPIC’s Cathy Cirko has pointed out that the bag tax system in Ireland actually had the effect of increasing resin consumption because consumers started purchasing more “kitchen catcher” bags.


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