Nature Canada

Moving Toward a Zero Plastic Waste Canada

Nature Canada, along with 30 other leading nature conservancies and environmental organizations, signed a joint Declaration on Plastics. This declaration highlights that 2018 is the time for a national waste reduction strategy, and that it, if implemented correctly, could lead Canada to zero plastic waste by 2025.

Plastic pollution is incredibly harmful to the environment and wildlife across Canada and in the oceans that surround us from coast, to coast, to coast. While many Canadians recycle their plastics – this is not enough.

In Canada, less than 11 per cent of all plastics are recycled – meaning nearly 90 per cent of plastics end up incinerated, or in our landfills, lakes, parks and oceans. Once in the environment, plastics contaminate ecosystems, kill wildlife, and leach toxic chemicals.

If we intend to reverse the negative impact that plastics have on the environment and wildlife – we must act now. Canada needs strong waste policies that hold producers responsible, keep problematic plastics out of Canada, and dramatically increase the reuse and recycling of plastics.

The signatories are calling on the Canadian Government to take decisive action with recommended actions to reduce and reverse the impact of plastic pollution on the environment and wildlife:

1. Work with provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous governments to develop policies that keep plastics out of the environment;
2. Establish consistent definitions, standards and measurement protocols;
3. Following the example of microbeads, take priority steps to declare problematic plastics (such as single-use plastics) toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), and take preventative action to minimize environmental and human health risks by 2020
4. Build circularity into the federal government’s public procurement policies;
5. Demonstrate international leadership by championing a global treaty, built on the successful precedent of the Montreal Protocol.

View the joint Declaration on Plastics here.

At the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, four countries endorsed a G7 ocean plastics Charter. Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the European Union signed onto an agreement to reduce the amount of waste in the world’s oceans, and to cut down on the use of single-use plastics.

This charter calls for these countries to reduce their use of plastics, and, where alternatives are not available, to find ways to include more recycled materials in the plastics they do use.

Read more about the G7 Summit Plastics Charter here

The Globe and Mail: U.S, Japan decline to sign G7 agreement to reduce plastic waste in oceans
The Star Halifax: Advocate says G7 charter needs plastic-reduction targets
Global News: Canada reducing (but not banning) use of plastics at G7 in Quebec

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Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.