Canada Bans Single Use Plastics by 2021

Updated on November 5th, 2020

Images of QMC's Single Use Plastic replacements

Single use plastics will be banned for use in Canada by the end of 2021, marking another step by the Canadian government to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. QMC has provided all staff with renewable options to support this green initiative.

The plastic revolution can be seen as one of the most bittersweet moments of the 19th century. When plastic was first created for commercial use, they were widely touted for being lightweight, rust and rot free, and conserved the use of other, more expensive materials.

For instance, the application of plastics has helped advance almost every single industry, from satellite components, electronics, building and construction materials to even carrying groceries home. Plastic components are reusable, lightweight, and durable.

However, the widespread use of plastics has led to an unforeseen problem: plastic waste. All the benefits of using plastic also become their drawbacks. Lightweight, durable, and rust and rot free translates to nonbiodegradable, and hydrophobic tendencies, leading to a material that would take over 1,000 years to degrade on its own. This is especially problematic for single use plastics, such as plastic bags or takeout containers, as these are meant to be used to bring your food home one time, while the plastic would take 10 – 1,000 years to break down naturally.

With this in mind, the Government of Canada recently announced that they will be banning harmful single use plastic items by the end of 2021. They found that Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, with only 9% going to recycling facilities, with also 29,000 tonnes of plastic finding their way into our natural environment.

Single use plastics contribute to the 3 million tonnes of plastic waste Canadians generate annually, with only 9% going to recycling facilities.

Single-use plastic items that are covered by the ban include:

  • Checkout bags
  • Stir sticks
  • Beverage six-pack rings
  • Cutlery
  • Straws
  • Food packaging made from plastics that are difficult to recycle

The Canadian government has stated that these single use items have been banned because there are readily available alternatives on the market, and should be an easy transition for both consumers and retailers.

We at QMC are delighted to hear about these changes, as we have already transitioned many of our single use plastics in our workplace to reusable ones. In line with our vision of Sustainability Through Accountability, we strive to support sustainable initiatives for ourselves and our clients.

For instance, we provide lunch bags, lunch boxes, cutlery as well as reusable straws for all employees during the onboarding process. We encourage staff members to also reduce their carbon footprint by biking to work, or consider carpooling.

By working together, Canadians can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 2 million tonnes by managing our plastic waste. To learn more, visit the Government of Canada’s page here.