TRENTON, Canada – Plastic straws and grocery bags will be history by year's end, the Canadian government announced Monday.
The long-awaited move happens three years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to end the use of plastics that are difficult to recycle and contribute to pollution.
Six items are affected besides straws and grocery bags, including Styrofoam take-out food containers, cutlery, stir sticks, and plastic rings that hold together six packs of beer.
The ban means the products can no longer be made as of the end of this year. As well, it stops the sale of the items by the end of 2023 and their importation by the end of 2025.
The government listed manufactured plastics as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act following a scientific assessment of plastics in 2020. It was the first necessary step toward the ban.
Plastics have become a plague in Canada. In a 2019 study, the Environmental and Climate Change Canada found that 3.6 million tons of plastic were thrown out annually. Most ended up in garbage landfills as only about 10 percent of plastics were recycled. It takes hundreds of years for plastic to decompose in landfills.
Also in 2019, a country-wide shoreline cleanup initiative collected 359,000 pounds of plastic waste.
The government data shows that year also saw huge sales and use of plastic, including 15.5 billion grocery bags, 4.5 million pieces of cutlery, 3 billion stir sticks, 5.8 billion straws, 183 million six-pack rings and 805 million take-out containers, as reported by Global News.
The items also turned up as litter in parks and forests.
Some grocery retailers have already ended the use of plastic bags, including Sobey's, while a number of fast-food outlets have removed plastic straws and replaced them with paper ones. (Anadolu)