Beware of the plastics

A nationwide ban on the production and import of some single-use plastic items, including grocery bags, cutlery, straws (remember those?), and takeout containers, is now in effect

Why it matters: Single-use plastics are on track to account for 10% of global greenhouse emissions by 2050. The federal government estimates banning these items will eliminate a million garbage bags’ worth of pollution and 1.3 million tonnes of hard-to-recycle plastics. 

  • If paper straws and 10-cent plastic bag charges made you feel like there was already kind of a plastics ban in place, you’re not alone. Canadians have been cutting back on single-use plastics well ahead of the announcement.

Yes, but: The benefits are not so clear-cut. When it comes to cotton bags, a popular alternative to reusable grocery bags, one report found they need to be reused between 50 to 150 times to have less impact on the climate than one single-use plastic bag. 

What’s next: For now, the ban only covers the manufacturing of restricted single-use plastics, but in a year, selling them will also be illegal. And in case you’re wondering about those plastic rings used in six-packs, those are also out beginning in June next year.