Single-use plastics will be banned by 2021, Trudeau announces

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Shopping bags, straws, plastic utensils and take-out containers make up more than a third of Canada's plastic waste, the government says.

In making the announcement the Prime Minister cited images of wildlife dying from eating plastic objects they have mistaken for food and even noted recent information that humans are ingesting measurable quantities of microplastic particles.

Ottawa intends to collaborate with the provinces, territories and municipal governments to establish norms for those companies that sell the products that could fall under the ban.

Canada's ban on items such as plastic bags and straws will be aligned with similar measures that the European Union and other countries have adopted, the government said. But plastic bags, cutlery, plates and stir sticks in any case are likely to be abolished.

The government has not announced yet as to exactly which plastic items will be banned.

To be sure, data are spotty about how much plastic winds up in single-use items versus durable goods such as cars.

A report done earlier this year by consulting firms Deloitte and ChemInfo Services and commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada found that in 2016, only nine per cent of plastic waste was recycled in Canada and 87 per cent ended up in landfills.

"Plastics are key to our modern and sustainable way of life, but they do not belong in the environment".

"We have reached a defining moment and this is a problem we simply can't afford to ignore", Trudeau added. Europe is putting new onus on producers of plastics to ensure they are recycled or reused, including the makers of fishing nets, which are among the most prevalent plastics trapping fish and polluting water bodies.

Canada now throws out 12 times the plastic it recycles, and there are only about a dozen domestic recycling plants.

"How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches around the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags?" "Or albatross chicks photographed off the coast of Hawaii, their bodies filled to the brim with plastic they've mistaken for food". "Against all odds, you will find plastic at the very deepest point of the Pacific Ocean".

And yet now, Trudeau has apparently discovered after nearly four years in power with a majority government, during which time he could have actually done something about it, that single-use plastics are an environmental crisis, and he has the solution, if only Canadians will re-elect him on October 21.

Canada estimates that 3 million tons of plastic waste are thrown away in the country every year.

Trudeau said his approach could lead to economic growth.

The government said the move would "reduce 1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution, generate billions of dollars in revenue, and create approximately 42,000 jobs".

Trudeau promised on multiple occasions that a "Canadian solution" was in the works, but the waste continued to sit in ports near Manila.