Canada implements swift measures to curb plastic food packaging waste
Responding to growing concerns over plastic pollution tarnishing cherished landscapes, the Government of Canada has unveiled an ambitious plan to tackle plastic food packaging waste. The initiative, led by Environment and Climate Change Canada, seeks to combat climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution through a comprehensive approach targeting the entire life cycle of plastics.
Central to the government's commitment to achieving zero plastic waste is the proposed Pollution Prevention Planning Notice (P2 Notice) for primary food plastic packaging. Under this plan, major grocery retailers across the country would be obligated to create pollution prevention strategies, focusing on reducing, reusing, and redesigning plastic food packaging, while also incorporating higher recycled content targets. Plastic food packaging constitutes nearly one-third of Canada's plastic packaging, a significant portion of which is destined for single-use purposes, encompassing items like juice boxes, produce bags, yogurt containers, and meat trays.
The implementation of the P2 Notice is aimed at achieving three primary objectives: the eradication of unnecessary or problematic plastic packaging, the adoption of reusable and refillable packaging systems in place of single-use plastics, and ensuring that any plastic used is designed for safe reuse, recycling, or composting.
Furthermore, the P2 Notice will incorporate targets to promote the sale of products within reuse-refill systems, concentrated products, and plastic-free packaging options. Paired with the proposed Recycled Content and Labelling for Plastic Products Regulations, slated for release later this year, the combined measures promise to significantly curb the environmental impact of plastic pollution.
In light of this initiative, The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, emphasised, "The solution lies in the concerted action and combined efforts of all governments, industry (in this case, major grocery retailers), and Canadians. By getting rid of problematic plastic food packaging, replacing single-use packaging with reuse-refill systems, and ensuring that plastics, if needed, are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted, we can all help move Canada toward zero plastic waste."
To foster broad public engagement, the Canadian government has opened a consultation period until August 30, 2023, inviting feedback from grocery retailers, stakeholders, partners, and the public at large. This valuable input will shape the development of the Proposed Notice to be published later this year. People can contribute their valuable insights and opinions by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters with comments can be addressed to Tracey Spack, Director of the Plastics Regulatory Affairs Division at Environment and Climate Change Canada, located at 351 Saint-Joseph Boulevard, Gatineau QC K1A 0H3.
Photo caption: A discarded plastic cup on the ground: reminder of the need for collective action to combat plastic food packaging waste.
Photo credit: Tashi Farmilo