Statement: Canada Bans Single-Use Plastics

Media Contacts
Kelsey Lamp

Director, Protect Our Oceans Campaign, Environment America

BOSTON — The Canadian government has announced that it will ban the manufacture and import of most single-use plastic products in December 2022 and the sale of these products as of December 2023. Canada’s ban, following similar action in countries such as Ireland, affects:

  • checkout bags;
  • cutlery;
  • foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics that are hard to recycle;
  • ring carriers;
  • stir sticks; and
  • straws (with some exceptions)

In the United States, local jurisdictions such as New York City have imposed plastic bans. But the country has yet to enact any comprehensive legislation to minimize plastic pollution, despite our nation’s enormous plastic pollution problem. Scientists have found plastic fragments in hundreds of species, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species, and 43% of all marine mammal species. Ingesting these fragments is often fatal for these animals. A study also recently detected microplastics in human blood

In response, PIRG’s Environment Campaigns Director Matt Casale released the following statement: 

“If we have the will, we can easily solve the problem of waste and pollution from single-use plastics. And Canada is showing the way. Plastic pollutes our air and water every step of the way — from when manufacturers make it from fossil fuels to when we toss it, often after using it only once. Nothing we use for a few minutes should damage our health and environment so profoundly. Canada’s action will hopefully provide momentum to all the efforts around our country to reduce or ban — and get beyond — single-use plastics.” 

Environment America’s Protect Our Oceans Campaign Director Kelsey Lamp said:

“The plastic that we use once litters our landscape for decades. It’s easy for a bird, fish or turtle to mistake small pieces of plastic for food—especially when there are millions of pieces of it in our waters, forming enormous garbage patches in our oceans. From Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine, more than 200 cities and other communities have decided enough is enough and implemented plastic foam bans. It’s heartening to see our neighbors to the north enact an even more comprehensive ban at a national level. More local governments in the U.S. should follow suit — and it’s time for our state and federal governments to put wildlife over waste, too.”