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Response to Canada’s Plastic Action Initiatives

The Recycling Council of Ontario offered comments and recommended necessary actions to holistically reduce plastic waste in Canada


On Oct. 7, 2020 the Government of Canada released a comprehensive plan and discussion paper that introduced three primary tactics to reduce plastic pollution:
  1. Banning certain harmful single-use plastics as early as 2021 by enacting regulation that targets sources of plastic pollution through the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
  2. Establishing performance standards that includes recycled content requirements, including a 50% recycled content target in plastic products by 2030.
  3. Ensuring end-of-life responsibility.

The Recycling Council of Ontario offers comments and recommends necessary actions to holistically reduce plastic waste in Canada:

  • Set a national plastic waste reduction and recycling target for Canada.
  • Create a national registry that is capable of tracking plastic production, sales, and end of life management. 
  • Ensure that information and data collected through the registry is shared publicly to all interested and affected stakeholders. 
  • Ban packaging and products from sale as they are set out in the discussion paper; designed for single use; difficult to manage through recycling or composting applications; and where market alternatives exist to support avoidance, reuse, or improved recycling or composting options.
  • Expand the list of banned single-use plastics where there is evidence that they are found in the environment, are often not recycled, and have readily available alternatives.
  • Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act mandate the use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content for plastics in the manufacturing of new products. 
  • Set a 50 per cent minimum baseline by 2030 and use an economy-wide approach for its implementation. 
  • Develop a national strategy to guide PCR implementation and work with a cross-section of stakeholders and jurisdictions to identify priority sectors and/or products; develop use standards and specifications; and identify verification processes and protocols. 
  • Create a national reporting repository to track adoption and impacts, and make all related information accessible for public consumption.
  • Government of Canada should leverage its leadership position and buying power to advance all policy objectives outlined in the discussion paper starting in 2021.
  • Increase PCR content, ban single-use items, and ensure responsible end of life management by implementing circular procurement practices.  
  • Use convening powers to coalesce governments at all levels and develop a circular procurement strategy that targets the elimination of plastic waste. 
  • Create a set of national standards to support effective provincial and territorial circular procurement policies and practices.
  • Create national standards, based on best practices, that include standardization for regulatory scope; regulatory terms and definitions; performance targets; and reporting protocols that guides implementation and expands EPR policies across Canada.  
  • Click here to read the full discussion.
  • Utilize the national registry for plastics production and end of life management to track all advancements in EPR regulations applied to products and packaging that contain plastic. 
  • Dismiss outright any form of incineration, thermal treatment, or energy-from-waste as an acceptable approach to mitigate plastic waste.

Click here to download the complete recommendation report.