(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

Youth lead Ucluelet Cemetery nameplate project

Students navigate maps and scour local archives over three years to honour deceased.

Tofino awards $2.4M contract to connect path to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

The district announced the project will be paid entirely with grants.

Semi-truck crashes on Hwy. 4 between Port Alberni and Tofino-Ucluelet

Drivers heading in or out of Tofino-Ucluelet Friday afternoon should expect delays

Divers encounter giant, weird-looking fish in Barkley Sound

Rendezvous Dive Adventures charter sees six-foot creature normally found in tropical water

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read