The Liberals’ new plan to ban single-use plastics will help not only the environment but also create jobs, according to Fisheries and Oceans Minister John Wilkinson.
Wilkinson made the statement in Ontario Monday, following an early morning announcement of a single-use plastics ban by 2021 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau said the specific items to be banned will be determined based on a science-based review, but the government is considering items such as water bottles, plastic bags and straws.
In his announcement Monday, Wilkinson said the rules will apply to business as well, and could do away with items like plastic rings holding beer can packs together.
“With eight million tons of plastic pollution entering the oceans around the world every year, plastics are on track to outweigh fish in the ocean by 2050,” Wikinson said.
“Only eight per cent of the plastics in Canada are recycled at this time,” he said.
Wilkinson said Ottawa would work with provinces and businesses to make it easier for companies to recycle their waste.
For items that are easier to recycle, Wilkinson said the government will be developing a strategy to increase recycling.
“B.C. is a leader in this approach and we are looking to build on that leadership,” he said.
“The goal is to transfer responsibility for recycling to companies that generate plastic waste in the first place.”
The federal minister was joined by Oceanwise CEO Lasse Gustavsson.
“The most visible threat to the ocean is plastic pollution,” said Gustavsson.
Gustavsson said the plastic trash in the ocean conversely makes it easier for ocean conservation activists.
“It is easy for all of us to see how we are contributing to the problem but also how we can be part of the solution.”