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Update on the Canadian Single-Use Plastic Ban (2024)

Canada's commitment to tackling plastic pollution is advancing with significant updates to its Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations. Here is a comprehensive update on the status and specifics of the ban as of June 2024:





Overview of the Ban


The Canadian government will try to eliminate harmful single-use plastics as part of its broader goal to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. The ban targets six categories of single-use plastic items that are commonly found in the environment, are difficult to recycle, and have readily available alternatives:


  1. Checkout Bags

  2. Cutlery (including forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks)

  3. Foodservice Ware (containers, cups, plates, bowls made from problematic plastics)

  4. Ring Carriers

  5. Stir Sticks

  6. Straws

Implementation Timeline


To allow businesses time to adapt, the implementation is staggered:


  • December 20, 2022: Prohibition on the manufacture and import for sale of checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware, stir sticks, and straws.

  • June 20, 2023: Prohibition on the manufacture and import of ring carriers.

  • December 20, 2023: Ban on the sale of checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware, stir sticks, and straws.

  • June 20, 2024: Ban on the sale of ring carriers and flexible straws packaged with beverage containers.

  • December 20, 2025: Ban on the manufacture, import, and sale for export of all six categories​ (Canada.ca)​​ (Canada.ca)​.

Legal Challenges and Developments


In November 2023, the Federal Court ruled the inclusion of "plastic manufactured items" in the list of toxic substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) as unreasonable and unconstitutional. This ruling temporarily halted the federal government's ability to regulate these plastics. However, the Federal Court of Appeal granted a stay on this decision in January 2024, allowing the regulations to remain in effect while the appeal is expedited​ (McMillan LLP)​​ (BLG)​.


Environmental and Economic Impacts

The ban is expected to significantly reduce plastic pollution and protect marine and wildlife. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, this initiative will help avoid 1.3 million tonnes of plastic waste over the next decade​ (Canada.ca)​. Despite the legal challenges, the federal government remains committed to the ban, emphasizing the environmental and public health benefits.

Exemptions

Specific exemptions apply, particularly for single-use plastic flexible straws, which remain available for individuals with disabilities and medical needs. These exemptions ensure accessibility while adhering to environmental goals​ (Canada.ca)​.


Future Actions


Canada continues to push for global action against plastic pollution, aligning with international efforts such as the Ocean Plastics Charter and participating in the development of a legally-binding treaty to end plastic pollution globally​ (Canada.ca)​​ (McMillan LLP)​.


Please check in for regular updates on the Canada Single Use Plastic ban and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.


Canadian Box & Paper


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