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We all know how toxic plastic is to our environment, and how much of it we are accustomed to using every day. These single-use items include plastic bags, bottles, straws, and cutlery.
In Ontario alone, the average person generates nearly a tonne of waste every year.
The government has recently released a discussion paper on reducing litter and waste and is asking the public and stakeholders for input on how to address the problem. One question it asks is if a ban on single-use plastics would be effective in reducing plastic waste. Environment Minister Rod Phillips says “Plastics is a priority from our government’s point of view, particularly as we talk about plastics in our waterways.” as its estimated that about 10,000 tonnes of plastic debris enter our Great Lakes each year.
The discussion paper says that Ontario’s Blue Box recycling program recovers only about 28% of all plastic packaging in the province. And Keith Brooks, programs director at Environmental Defence, says that a lot of single-use plastics like straws and cutlery are unnecessary. Some ideas talked about in the discussion paper say that companies need to be more conscious and held responsible for their waste.
Ontario is also looking at allowing many other items to be collected through Blue Box programs which would include small and large appliances, power tools, rechargeable batteries, fluorescent bulbs, and clothing.
With other countries having banned some single-use plastic items such as Italy, China, Bangladesh, and many countries in Africa, it’s time that Canada does too. There are many alternatives to these single-use items that make it easy to avoid plastic while moving towards a more sustainable future.