Straws, stir sticks and bags among first targets of countrywide plastics ban

Plastic straws

OTTAWA - Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says six single-use plastic items that aren't easily recycled and already have more environmentally friendly alternatives will be the first to go under Canada's new restrictions on plastics.

That means the end of next year will be the end of the road for things like:

  • plastic straws
  • stir sticks
  • carry-out bags
  • cutlery
  • dishes
  • takeout containers
  • six-pack rings for cans and bottles

Wilkinson says many of the items that aren't on that list, like: 

  • Garbage bags
  • Milk bags
  • Snack food wrappers
  • Disposable personal care items and their packaging
  • Beverage containers and lids
  • Contact lenses and packaging
  • Cigarette filters
  • Items used in medical facilities
  • Personal protective equipment

He says there is also a push to standardize how plastic items are made, from the types and amounts of plastic used to the dyes and adhesives, so recycling them is easier.

The Alberta government announced Tuesday it wants to become a hub for Canada's expanding recycling industry.

Canada currently recycles less than 10 per cent of the three million tonnes of plastic it produces each year, and along with the provinces has set a goal of have zero plastic waste ending up in landfills by 2030.

The federal government has a target of at least 50 per cent recycled content in plastic products by 2030.

Under the new regulations the government will require: 

  • A minimum percentage of recycled content;
  • rules for measuring and evaluating the amount of recycled content; and
  • guidelines and related tools to help companies meet their requirements.