On Wednesday, October 7th, the federal government announced plans to ban some single-use plastic products such as checkout bags, straws and cutlery.

Canadians throw away a staggering 3 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, with only 9 per cent actually being recycled. Banning single-use plastics is a good start in the fight against plastic waste in Canada.

“This is a good step forward,” said Robyn Duncan, Executive Director of Wildsight. “We know that single use plastics have a huge impact on our environment.”

The ban will include plastic checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery, and foodware made from hard-to-recycle plastics. But other single use plastics got a pass, including to-go coffee cups, food packaging (like net bags for onions), clamshell packaging and industrial plastics.

Plastic never truly breaks down – as it degrades, we are left with smaller and smaller particles of plastic that find their way into our air and water. And single use items are also carbon intensive to make and have a long lasting impact.

“As we learn more about the impacts of plastic on our environment, we have a responsibility and an opportunity to change our behaviours. We can easily live without the convenience of single use plastics,” remarks Duncan.

So what can be done now? Wildsight urges consumers to consider the waste hierarchy – reduce, reuse, recycle. Look for reusable containers, shop at local no-waste stores, buy in bulk whenever possible.

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