The Case for Provincial Plastic Reform

Many Canadians are concerned about plastics pollution, and governments at all levels are seeking ways to take meaningful action. Continuing our work on finding solutions to plastics pollution problems, the ELC recently helped clients Kids for a Plastic Free Canada call on BC to enact North America’s most comprehensive controls on single-use plastics and related disposable waste.

In addition to suggesting laws the province could develop, the ELC report also underlines the need to help communities and businesses deal with the shift in production as well as changes in behaviour that are necessary to effectively reduce plastic pollution. Laws and policies will help guide the way, but governments, producers, businesses, and consumers must work together to support the development of innovative solutions.

The report includes six main recommendations:

  • Enact laws and policies regarding single-use plastic waste that follows a new waste management hierarchy: avoid, reduce, re-use, recycle;
  • Develop standards for compostable waste and ensure “compostable” plastics are actually compostable;
  • Establish a single-use item reduction strategy that includes a broad ban on certain products;
  • Reduce the volume and use of disposable food and beverage containers and encourage, support and facilitate systems that help retailers provide convenient and practical re-use of take-out containers;
  • Create partnerships to transition away from a throw-away society through investment in collaborative initiatives, encouraging innovated technologies to replace single-use plastic items, supporting public education programs and consulting with businesses to assist in the transition away from unnecessary waste; and
  • Increase the deposit required for beverage containers.

Kids for a Plastic Free Canada presented the report, The Case for Reform:  BC Must Regulate Single-Use Plastics, to the BC Minister of Environment in October. They are hopeful that the government will respond soon with concrete actions.