Canadians share their views on eliminating plastic waste as the Government of Canada looks to next steps
From: Environment and Climate Change Canada
October 12, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario
Canadians know that plastic pollution is choking our oceans, lakes, and rivers and damaging the places we love. Beating plastic pollution means getting plastic out of our waters and eliminating plastic waste. From April 22 to September 21, 2018, the Government of Canada asked Canadians to share their views on the topic “Moving Canada Toward Zero Plastic Waste.”
Canadians submitted over 1,900 comments and emails and 12,000 campaign letters. Summaries of what we heard have now been published. Initial feedback made it clear that Canadians recognize the need for prompt action to reduce plastic waste and marine litter and acknowledge that everyone—government, industry, and consumers alike—shares responsibility for managing plastics throughout their lifecycle.
Canada is taking action. We are working with provinces and territories and gathering input from Indigenous Peoples, industry, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, and research institutions to develop an approach by the end of 2018. Environment ministers will meet in November at the annual meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to discuss a Canada-wide framework for eliminating plastic waste and reducing marine litter. Discussions will continue into 2019 through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and with other levels of government, Indigenous communities, industry, and others to identify specific actions to reduce plastic waste and its pollution.
Throughout its G7 presidency, Canada has been a champion on international efforts to reduce plastic pollution, including spearheading the launch of the Ocean Plastics Charter at the G7 leaders summit last June. This leadership role continued at the G7 Environment, Energy and Oceans Ministers meeting in Halifax, last month, where plastic pollution remained a priority for discussion and collaboration with international partners.
Canada is committed to protecting our environment and preserving our waterways so that all Canadians can continue to enjoy the beauty, health, and economic benefits that our oceans, lakes, and rivers provide.
“Plastic pollution is choking our oceans, lakes, and rivers. I’m so grateful that so many Canadians have spoken and told us how important protecting our waterways from plastic pollution and marine litter is. It’s on all of us to change the way we use plastics—as consumers, businesses, and governments. Together, we can move Canada to be a nation of zero plastic waste.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- Canadians identified a variety of potential solutions for reducing plastic pollution. The most common suggestions included
- improving recyclability and packaging standards
- increasing environmentally sound alternatives and providing incentives for their use, such as reusable items and compostable plastics
- creating incentives for alternatives and fees for non-environmentally friendly plastics
- implementing limits or fees on single-use plastics and packaging (e.g., prohibiting the sale of non-recyclable packaging)
- investing in improved recycling programs and infrastructure
- increasing awareness of plastic waste and solutions through educational campaigns
- Worldwide, there are more than 150 million tonnes of plastic waste in the ocean.
- Every year, approximately 8 million tonnes of plastics enter our oceans from land, globally.
- Globally, less than 10 per cent of all plastics are recycled and kept in the economy. This reality represents the loss of a valuable commodity.
- Plastic pollution is found on all of Canada’s ocean coasts and in freshwater ecosystems, including the Great Lakes. It is on shorelines, in waters, sediments, sea ice, and even in wildlife.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)