Every year, Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste of which only 9% is recycled. This data is terrifying, especially following all the damage this has been doing to the environment.
The good news is that Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson decided some single-use plastics should be banned and will be finalized by the end of 2021.
What is been announced to be banned first:
- Grocery checkout bags
- Stir sticks
- Six-pack rings
- Plastic cutlery
- Food takeout containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics (like black plastic packaging)
According to Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, 3 keys characteristics decided to do that:
- They are things that are harmful to the environment
- They are things that are difficult or costly to recycle
- There are readily available and affordable alternatives
Alternatives to single-use plastics include single-use biodegradable items such as paper straws, reed straws, sugar cane or paper take-out containers, paper bags, paper cutleries, and much more.
The science and studies though suggest more utensils that should be banned:
- Plastics that are unnecessary or that have substitutes: plastic stirrers, plates, bowls, trays, cutlery, cotton swabs, balloon sticks, lightweight plastic bags, and plastic beverage containers without tethered caps and lids.
- Plastics that are made of or contain harmful chemicals, including polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC): these plastics can leech into human bodies or the environment = harmful to human health & the environment + Not recycled.
- Plastics that are not recyclable or cannot be recycled by local recycling programs including black plastics and plastic packaging made of mixed materials (e.g. stand-up pouches).
- Oxo-degradable plastics: these plastics have been marketed as biodegradable but only break down into small pieces and cause more harm to the environment. (e.g. LDPE #4 / PP #5 / PS #6 ).
- Compostable plastics: plastics that are compostable only in industrial composting facilities but are not accepted by Canadian municipalities.
However, they are not on the list yet.
If you are a restaurant manager/owner it’s time to start acquiring and using biodegradable alternatives for your business. “Straws and Stuff” has a complete portfolio to help you.