(Wikimedia Commons)

Liberals to announce plan to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021

But no list of banned products will be unfurled immediately

The federal government will announce a plan Monday to ban harmful single-use plastics like drinking straws as early as 2021.

No list of banned products will be unfurled immediately, two government officials with knowledge of the initiative said Sunday.

Rather, the Liberals want to look at the empirical evidence and do their own research to determine which products should be outlawed to help reduce the millions of tons of plastic waste that ends up in oceans each year.

The idea is to come up with a comprehensive plan to prohibit the production and sale of specific, toxic plastic products within a couple of years.

“Where the best solution is to ban, it will be banned,” said one official familiar with the plan.

Details will be announced Monday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in Toronto and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in British Columbia.

At the last G7 summit, Canada and four other leading economies signed a charter pledging that by 2040 all plastic produced in their countries will be reused, recycled or burned to produce energy. (The United States and Japan stayed out.)

The proliferation of single-use plastic packaging like water bottles, drinking straws and food wrapping is sending massive amounts of plastic to landfills. More blows into waterways and drifts to the sea. Giant reefs of plastic are showing up in the oceans and fish and sea mammals are eating plastic objects thinking they’re food.

Canada, with the longest coastline in the world, has an important role to play internationally, another official said. “I think people really want to see us take some real action.”

READ MORE: Tofino and Ucluelet officially ban plastic bags and straws

READ MORE: B.C. grocery store uses embarrassing plastic bags to get shoppers to go reusable

The Canadian Press granted the government sources anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly prior to the announcement.

“Nothing’s happening overnight. But we’re announcing the intention to get there as early as 2021,” one of the officials said.

“We’re not specifically listing products. We’re going to be looking at the best evidence that’s out there and conducting studies to determine what the products are that make sense.”

However, plastic straws and foam food containers are the sort of items that could be banned.

“We want to make sure we get it right, and there are adverse effects on the economy,” a source said. “But the problem has now kind of reached a breaking point. It’s just so harmful to the environment.”

Under the plan, an expedited review of certain plastics products would take place through the Canadian Environmental Protection Act process.

In addition, the government is working toward making producers of plastic packaging ensure it is recyclable or reuseable. However, this must happen in concert with provinces and municipalities.

“We want it to be comprehensive. We’re not looking at just one specific sector, we’re looking at the entire problem,” one official said.

“We also think that there’s the opportunity for tens of thousands of jobs to be created through innovation and research and development.”

Jim Bronskill and Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rutland community rallies against McCurdy house

Nearly 100 neighbours protested Kelowna’s newest ‘wet’ supportive housing project

“It’ll happen again”: Lake Country council has no answers for flood victims

Flood victim snuffed when she asked about future provisions to stop water main breaks from occuring

Plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mix of sun and clouds

Environment Canada is calling for a chance of rain and risk of thunderstorms across the Okanagan tonight

United Way recognizes Maxine DeHart

Architect of hugely successful drive-thru fundraising breakfast given Community Distinction Award

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

Companies need clearer rules on workplace relationships, study suggests

One-third of Canadians have been in love at work, and half say no policy on the matter exists

B.C. premier says Greyhound replacement news could come shortly

Province is working with the private sector to find a solution, says premier

Okanagan bylaw officer best in B.C.

Al Harrison of Vernon named Bylaw Officer of the Year at annual association conference

Man accused of assault at South Okanagan beach gets bail

Thomas Brayden Kruger-Allen was granted bail at the Penticton provincial courthouse on Monday

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Most Read