Plastic forks and takeout containers could soon become a thing of the past under a new Liberal plan to ban single-use plastics.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that the government is looking at different options to limit the use of single-use plastics and make plastic producers responsible for the collection and recycling of their products under new regulations.
“I’m very pleased to announce that as early as 2021, Canada will ban harmful single use plastics from coast to coast to coast,” he said, adding that the government will also make plastic producers responsible for the recycling of their products, rather than municipalities.
“This shift away from municipal responsibilities to corporate responsibilities is one we know is going to allow us to recycle a lot more plastic.”
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The plan right now is to study how other jurisdictions like the European Union bar single-use plastics and put together a list of single-use plastics that will be covered under the ban over the coming months and year, Trudeau said.
But no actual ban is likely until roughly 2021.
Trudeau said the timeline will be based around consultations and discussions with scientists around which plastics should be targeted, what alternative options are available for businesses, and how unintended costs to small businesses could be limited.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time to make sure we get this right because it is a big step but we know that we can do this by 2021,” Trudeau said.
WATCH BELOW: Trudeau says plastic producers will be responsible for collecting and recycling their products under new rules
He also hinted the Liberals have more announcements to come on environmental regulation, billing the single-use plastics ban and the new rules for plastic producers are just two of a number of next steps the government plans to pitch to Canadians.
Parliament is set to rise for the summer in two weeks, and then head into the federal election in the fall.
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Environmental protection is a key area of policy focus for the Liberals, who this year implemented the carbon tax and last year banned the import and manufacturing of toiletries containing microbeads.
That ban will extend to the sale of any toiletries containing microbeads starting on July 1, 2019.
The government is also in the final stages of passing two bills they argue will tighten environmental assessment criteria for energy projects and also protect the sensitive coast of northern British Columbia from oil spills by banning tanker traffic.
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Critics argue the bills carry steep economic costs for Alberta and particularly its ability to export crude oil to tankers on the western coast.
However, the decision to spend $4.5 billion to purchase the existing Trans Mountain pipeline infrastructure from Kinder Morgan last year raised criticisms from political opponents and environmental groups that the government was talking out of both sides of its mouth by both buying the pipeline and advocating for environmental regulations.