Canada Will Finally Break Free from Relying on Single-Use Plastics

Trudeau’s plan to banish the use of single-use plastics will have a net positive impact on the environment

(Kristen Frier)

Plastics are one of the many sources of pollution devaluing and poisoning our oceans, forests and cities.

Animals, including humans, suffer from this common unnatural enemy, but thankfully, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on June 10 a plan to ban all harmful single-use plastic items as early as 2021. These items include straws, bags, cutlery, cups, food containers, cotton swabs, drink stirrers, and more.

Trudeau mentioned in his announcement that Canadians throw away $8 billion worth of plastic each year, and that much of it does not get recycled. Instead, the plastic ends up in landfills, where it could take hundreds or even thousands of years to decompose. Trudeau also mentioned how he didn’t want his children to go to the beach and encounter straws, Styrofoam, or plastic bottles, and I am positive that many of us don’t want that for our future generations either.

Plus, it’s no secret that our oceans are drowning in plastic waste, and that aquatic debris has become one of the most harmful sources of pollution. What are the poor turtles going to think about us now? Probably that we are horrible creatures, which, in a way, we are!

But in spite of the positive environmental impact this policy will have, some small businesses will unfortunately suffer, as they tend to rely on single-use plastics.

A recent CBC article mentions a small bubble tea shop that will have to adjust to non-plastic cups and straws and change to more expensive products made of paper, sugar cane, or rice. Changes like these will have tremendous benefits to our environment as long as we are willing to pay the extra penny for them.

Plastics Today, an online plastics industry publication, challenged parts of the policy in a recent article posted on their website. According to the article, paper products are sometimes bleached with chlorine, which not only prevents them from being properly composted, it can make them taste like chlorine. The article also mentions that paper cups and plates are usually coated in polyethylene or wax, which makes it so they can’t be recycled.

“But if anyone in the Canadian government is astute enough to actually compare the manufacture of paper compared with plastics,” reads the article, “there’s no doubt which product is more eco friendly and more recyclable—plastic, of course!”

Even if these claims are true, it will still be our job to make sure plastic gets recycled. If we don’t take care of it, who will? The Martians? I don’t think so.

Hopefully by 2021, all Canadians can move on from this plastic mania and break free from the chains of contamination. But meanwhile, let’s be more thoughtful and careful when recycling our plastics and help keep Canada clean.

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