Restaurants in Manitoba prepare for next steps in single-use plastic ban

Click to play video: 'Plastic ban leading businesses to pivot'
Plastic ban leading businesses to pivot
Canada has now banned the manufacture and import for sale of single-use plastics in an effort to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. As Marney Blunt reports, businesses are looking to pivot – Dec 20, 2022

As the next step in the federal government’s process of banning single-use plastics comes in effect, many Manitoba restaurants have already moved towards more eco-friendly options for their take-out and delivery orders, according to the Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association (MRFA).

As of Tuesday, the importation and manufacturing of single-use plastics will no longer be allowed in Canada, which includes plastic shopping bags, carry-out containers, plastic cutlery, stir sticks and straws.

While the implementation of the ban is slated to come in waves — an approach aimed at giving businesses more time to adapt — MRFA CEO Shaun Jeffrey says many businesses have already made the switch in anticipation of a ban on the purchase of single-use plastics.

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“This is not new. It’s been actually been on the table for quite a while,” he said in an interview with Global News Tuesday.

Click to play video: 'Plastic ban support declines'
Plastic ban support declines

“We’re starting to see a lot of restaurants kind of moving away from these products … trying to prepare themselves, obviously, to try to mitigate some of the challenges of trying to switch at the last possible moment.”

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The next step includes banning the sale of single-use plastic, which is scheduled to come into effect a year from now. That will be followed by another ban in 2025, on the manufacturing, importation and sale of single-use plastics for export.

Meanwhile, a ban on ring carriers (often used on beverage containers) is expected to be put in place on June 23, 2023. As well as, regulations surrounding the sale of flexible straws packaged with beverage containers are set to be put in place on June 24, 2024.

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Colleen Ans, with the Green Action Centre called the government’s move towards banning single-use plastics welcome news, but said more needs to be done.

“This is a great first step in getting towards our carbon emission goals by 2050, and it’s a great first step in making a positive impact on the environment,” Ans said, adding she’d like to see more plastics — like produce bags and take out cups — added to the list of banned items.

“It’s great to see these single use plastics being eliminated, but we would love to see more as well.”

Several food outlets, like A&W, Tim Hortons and Starbucks, have already replaced plastic straws with paper versions over the last several years.

Click to play video: 'Safeway phasing out plastic bags'
Safeway phasing out plastic bags

Jeffrey said some smaller restaurants have faced challenges finding alternatives to single-use plastics.

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“Obviously, supply chain management has made it very tough for us to move forward with getting products resourced and in stock,” he said.

“We’re hoping that over the next 12 months, while we’re resourcing these products, we can get a little bit better of a stock on these, so that we can make sure that these restaurants are able to operate their business and have the available stock necessary to do so.”

Jeffrey also warns consumers are likely to see prices rise as more restaurants make the switch, because eco-friendly cutlery and food containers are more expensive.

According to the federal government, the new regulations will result in the elimination of more than 1.3 million tonnes of plastic waste and more than 22,000 tonnes of plastic pollution.

— with files from Global News’ Marney Blunt and Taya Fast

Click to play video: 'Manitoba Youth for Climate Action talks about Sobeys move to ban plastic bags'
Manitoba Youth for Climate Action talks about Sobeys move to ban plastic bags

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