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Canada joins Europe and California in banning single-use plastics

  • Author: Robert Tuttle, Bloomberg News
  • Updated: June 10
  • Published June 10

Justin Trudeau's government announced plans Monday to ban single-use plastics such as straws and plates in Canada.

The ban would go into effect as early as 2021, the prime minister said at a press conference near Montreal. The government also plans new measures that would shift responsibility of recycling to companies that manufacture or sell plastic products.

The crackdown on plastics is part of a growing worldwide effort by governments in the European Union, India and California, driven by images of garbage-strewn oceans and dead sea animals with plastic bags in their digestive tracks. The EU voted in March to outlaw some products that fragment into small pieces and remain in the environment such as plastic bags.

"Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution, and are tired of seeing their beaches, parks, streets, and shorelines littered with plastic waste," Trudeau said in a statement. "We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come."

But a phaseout could threaten an important revenue stream for Canada's fossil-fuel industry, already suffering from pipeline bottlenecks, production curtailments and discounted prices for oil and gas.

In Alberta, the government of former Premier Rachel Notley pledged incentives for companies that built chemical plants to create jobs and wean the province off its dependence on fossil-fuel exports. In response to the program, in December 2017 Inter Pipeline Ltd. announced plans to build a C$3.5 billion ($2.6 billion) plastics plant in Northern Alberta.

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