You may have heard that the federal government announced they were going to ban single use plastics in Canada by 2021. This includes items such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks – where warranted and supported by scientific evidence.
Ottawa also plans to hold companies responsible for plastic waste, and will work with provinces and territories to introduce new standards for companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging.
While the attention is on the federal government regarding an incoming plastics ban, and all other matters federal as an election looms in October, the Ontario government also has also announced plans to deal with plastics as well.
Environment Minister Rod Phillips announced the creation of a “Compostable Products Technical Working Group” made up of experts from municipalities, industry and the waste management sector to set clear rules for compostable packaging materials in Ontario and to ensure these materials are accepted by existing and emerging green bin programs across the province.
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“We know Ontarians want to use more eco-friendly materials and reduce the amount of plastic litter and waste,” Phillips said. “By working with municipalities, product producers and private composting facilities we will build consensus around requirements and set clear rules around compostable products and packaging to ensure they don’t end up in landfills and are accepted in green bin programs.”
Items such as compostable coffee pods are available but currently not accepted in municipal green bins, instead getting redirected to landfills. There are over 90 municipal green bin programs in Ontario.
You could chalk this up to just commons sense on the part of Ottawa and Queen’s Park. These types of plastics are extremely durable that they will outlive their creators by hundreds of years, and if there’s no way to reuse them it only means more garbage piling up.
Then again, the Ontario government has been fighting Ottawa on their carbon pricing plan by saying there are other ways to ‘fight climate change’, such as taxing big polluters and keeping lakes clean in various ads the province has been running, so there is also a continuous political debate to consider in the background as well.
For more information about the Ontario government’s plans to revamp recycling in the province, click here.