Plastics, plastics everywhere…

The plastics industry is fighting to keep your kitchen cupboard stuffed with plastic bags. 

What happened: The plastics lobby is fighting a federal ban on single-use plastics in court this week, which would affect plastic bags, cutlery, straws, takeout containers, and other useful garbage. They argue the handling of waste disposal should stay in the hands of the provinces and question whether plastic is really as harmful as the government thinks. 

Why it matters: The government is trying to protect the environment from waste and reduce the use of a product classified as “toxic” to humans. But the ban also affects biodegradable plastics, like compostable cutlery. A sweeping ban could force Canadians to adjust to a new reality filled with soggy paper straws and unintended collections of cloth Walmart bags.

  • Plastic waste pollutes our lakes and rivers, and scientists have recently come to the disturbing realization that our own bodies are full of tiny plastic particles.

What’s next: A long wait. Arguments will end tomorrow, but the judge is expected to take months to lay down a ruling. If the ban is upheld, plastic checkout bags, cutlery, food storage containers, stir sticks, and some straws will be outlawed this year, followed by ring carriers that go around six-packs next year. Juice box straws would be the last to go, in 2025.