Canada Will Ban Single-Use Plastic

June 12, 2019
Hillary Leung for TIME, adapted by TFK editors
DOING THEIR PART On June 11, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces his government's commitment to banning single-use plastic by 2021.
PAUL CHIASSON/THE CANADIAN PRESS VIA AP

Canada has set a goal to ban single-use plastics by as early as 2021. The country wants to reduce waste that ends up in the ecosystem. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the plan on Monday.

Single-use plastics include bags, straws, and cutlery. They will not be allowed in Canada, Trudeau said in a statement. Companies that make or sell plastic products will be required to dispose of waste responsibly.

Every year, Canada throws away more than 3 million tons of plastic. It recycles only 10% of that. The Canadian government says that more than a million birds worldwide are killed or injured by plastic waste each year. So are 100,000 sea mammals.

“When we take our kids to the beach . . . we have to search out a patch of sand that isn’t littered with straws, Styrofoam, or bottles,” Trudeau said, according to the BBC. “That’s a problem we have to do something about.”

Canada isn’t the first country that plans to ban single-use plastic. The European Union has voted to ban plastic straws and food containers by 2021. India has pledged to eliminate all of its single-use plastic by 2022.

Trudeau’s announcement follows another recent event. Malaysia and the Philippines said they would send tons of non-recyclable waste back to its country of origin. That includes Canada. Southeast Asian nations say they are a dumping ground for wealthier countries. China barred the import of scrap plastic last year.

Canada has pledged to take back its rubbish. “We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come,” Trudeau said.