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Ontario government weighs ban on single-use plastics

In a new discussion paper, the Province is asking the public for input on how to reduce litter and waste.


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March 9, 2019 by Canadian Plastics

The province of Ontario is weighing a ban on single-use plastics, which include bags, water bottles, and straws.

The government recently released a discussion paper on reducing litter and waste, and is asking the public and stakeholders for input on how to best address the problem.

Entitled “Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities”, the paper – which can be found at this link – poses a series of garbage and recycling-related questions, one of which is if a ban on single-use plastics would be effective in reducing plastic waste.

“Sending waste to landfill is economically inefficient and unsustainable,” the paper said. “It puts a strain on our environment by taking up valuable land resources that could be used more productively. When we create waste, in our manufacturing processes and in the services we deliver and in our homes, we’re not making full use of the scarce natural resources that power our economy. By reducing and diverting waste from landfill we can make our economy more productive.”

Nearly a tonne of waste per person in Ontario is generated each year, the paper noted, and the rate at which that waste is diverted away from landfills – through recycling and composting, for example – has been stalled at around 30 per cent for the past 15 years.

“We believe that plastic waste is an issue that is best addressed by working with other levels of government as well as industry to better manage plastic waste, including single-use plastic waste, and taking steps to both prevent and clean up plastic pollution on our land and in the Great Lakes and our waterways,” the paper said. “We know that other jurisdictions have implemented a ban on single-use plastics to prevent plastic waste…consistent, coordinated action is needed to prevent plastic from ending up in waterways not just in Ontario, but across Canada.”

The section of the paper dealing with plastics then poses a series of questions for readers:

  1. What do you think is the most effective way to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our environment and waterways?
  2. What role do you think the various levels of government should play in reducing plastic waste?
  3. Would you support and participate in shoreline and other clean-up projects to keep our waterways and land free of plastic waste?
  4. Would a ban on single-use plastics be effective in reducing plastic waste?
  5. What are your views on reducing plastic litter through initiatives such as deposit return programs?

“Let us know your thoughts on the[se] discussion questions” the section then ends.

The paper deals with other waste-related issues, including reducing and diverting food and organic waste.

Comments from the public on the paper are being accepted until April 20.