The federal government’s zero plastic waste policy will hurt the Canadian economy, according to a recent study by the independent think tank the Montreal Economic Institute.
According to canada.ca, the goal of the policy is to eliminate plastic waste by 2030 and that “one element of the approach is the proposal to ban or restrict the use of certain plastics to single use when there is evidence that they are in the environment”. , are often not recycled and have readily available and viable alternatives. This includes single-use plastic checkout bags, cutlery, catering utensils made from or containing problematic plastics, ring holders, stir sticks and straws.
Walmart earlier this year halted the sale of its plastic shopping bags at its usual checkouts and self-checkouts.
The MEI study indicates that the policy puts Ottawa “in opposition to current and potential innovations coming out of the plastics industry”.
Gabriel Giguère, public policy analyst at the MEI and author of the study, said the policy “will harm the economy and Canadian workers and create a climate of uncertainty for investors, who may choose to place their money elsewhere”.
“And that won’t exactly help the country improve on private investment; Canada already has the worst record in the OECD. Plastic is an incredibly strategic industry, and growth projections for use of plastic in manufacturing and the economy in general are very positive. It is an essential material that is necessary for modern society and whose use is likely to continue to increase, or even double, by 2050.”
The study also states that “there is no guarantee that a ban on plastic shopping bags – like grocery bags – will reduce the country’s carbon footprint.
“In California, for example, the ban on plastic bags did not have the expected effects, because the 40 million tons of plastic bag waste eliminated was offset by a 12 million ton increase in the use of plastic bags. thicker garbage bags, which emit more greenhouse gases. In Canada, the plastics industry is committed to producing only fully recyclable and recoverable plastic bags by 2030. And we can expect more innovations from this industry as well. Modix Plastique, for example, recovers the bags and transforms them into hard granules which are reused to manufacture automobile parts or certain types of packaging. It is a technology that gives new life to plastic bags and reduces the environmental impact of plastic.
Giguère specifies that “for certain reusable cotton bags to be less harmful than single-use plastic bags for human health and ecosystems and to consume less fossil fuels, these cotton bags must be reused between 100 and 3,657 times , or the equivalent of two to 70 years”. of weekly use.”
The study also states that single-use plastic “also helps to minimize food waste.
“An estimated 11.2 million tonnes of waste could be avoided, enough food to feed all Canadians for almost five months. The government should take this into account when developing its zero plastic waste policy, so as not to ban single-use plastics that contribute to reducing food waste.”
The MEI says that the federal government, to “help reduce plastic waste without penalizing industry stakeholders and Canadian consumers,” should consider these solutions:
• “Remove the “manufactured plastic items” label from Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and end the ban on the six single-use plastic products currently covered by federal policy.
• “Stimulate innovation through tax reductions or credits, not subsidies, to encourage the implementation of new or proven technologies and increase recycling rates.”