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A plastic straw is pictured in a ice cold drink in North Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, June, 7, 2018. Vancouver is phasing-in bans on the use of plastic bags, disposable cups, plastic straws and other single-use items. (The Canadian Press / Jonathan Hayward)

Canada's restaurant owners are eager to do their part to curb this country's addiction to plastics but are urging the government to make sure there is enough time for their industry to adapt before fully banning plastic take-out containers.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says Ottawa's promised ban on many single-use plastics is coming in 2021 after a scientific assessment of plastic pollution proved Thursday the waste is harmful to the environment.

Carol Patterson, national vice-president at Restaurants Canada, says the industry needs a reasonable timeline to bring in alternatives that aren't just as bad for the environment as the plastic products they are replacing.

She says if the timeline is too aggressive, it will also drive up the cost of any alternatives as an entire industry looks to transition at the same time.

At the same time as restaurants are grappling with finding non-plastic options, they are seeing a surge in demand for take-out containers from the explosion of online food delivery services.

Ottawa is still developing the list of products to be banned but it is expected to include plastic cups, straws, cutlery, bottles and Styrofoam containers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2020.