(Wikimedia Commons)

Liberals to announce plan to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021

But no list of banned products will be unfurled immediately

The federal government will announce a plan Monday to ban harmful single-use plastics like drinking straws as early as 2021.

No list of banned products will be unfurled immediately, two government officials with knowledge of the initiative said Sunday.

Rather, the Liberals want to look at the empirical evidence and do their own research to determine which products should be outlawed to help reduce the millions of tons of plastic waste that ends up in oceans each year.

The idea is to come up with a comprehensive plan to prohibit the production and sale of specific, toxic plastic products within a couple of years.

“Where the best solution is to ban, it will be banned,” said one official familiar with the plan.

Details will be announced Monday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in Toronto and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in British Columbia.

At the last G7 summit, Canada and four other leading economies signed a charter pledging that by 2040 all plastic produced in their countries will be reused, recycled or burned to produce energy. (The United States and Japan stayed out.)

The proliferation of single-use plastic packaging like water bottles, drinking straws and food wrapping is sending massive amounts of plastic to landfills. More blows into waterways and drifts to the sea. Giant reefs of plastic are showing up in the oceans and fish and sea mammals are eating plastic objects thinking they’re food.

Canada, with the longest coastline in the world, has an important role to play internationally, another official said. “I think people really want to see us take some real action.”

READ MORE: Tofino and Ucluelet officially ban plastic bags and straws

READ MORE: B.C. grocery store uses embarrassing plastic bags to get shoppers to go reusable

The Canadian Press granted the government sources anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly prior to the announcement.

“Nothing’s happening overnight. But we’re announcing the intention to get there as early as 2021,” one of the officials said.

“We’re not specifically listing products. We’re going to be looking at the best evidence that’s out there and conducting studies to determine what the products are that make sense.”

However, plastic straws and foam food containers are the sort of items that could be banned.

“We want to make sure we get it right, and there are adverse effects on the economy,” a source said. “But the problem has now kind of reached a breaking point. It’s just so harmful to the environment.”

Under the plan, an expedited review of certain plastics products would take place through the Canadian Environmental Protection Act process.

In addition, the government is working toward making producers of plastic packaging ensure it is recyclable or reuseable. However, this must happen in concert with provinces and municipalities.

“We want it to be comprehensive. We’re not looking at just one specific sector, we’re looking at the entire problem,” one official said.

“We also think that there’s the opportunity for tens of thousands of jobs to be created through innovation and research and development.”

Jim Bronskill and Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Graffiti Days 2019 a huge success

Hundreds of cars and spectators — including a History channel TV personality — turned out for the event

Bus company fears for future if another licence issued for Interior routes

Adventure Charters waiting to see if Ebus BC is approved for Prince George-Kamloops run

Sea Cadets wind up another year with Ceremonial Review

Corps is fundraising for a trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2020

WorkBC helping break down barriers to employment

Office offers a wide range of services to help people find sustainable careers

Local News Briefs: Get garden ideas with Ashcroft tour

The Rivertown Players are back, invasive plant management, reduced tipping fees, and more

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read