Canada's Single-use Plastic Ban

George Hawkins and Amie McGowan, members of our International Environmental Compliance Team, examine the implementation of a Single Use Plastic Ban in Canada and discuss how the country intends to crack down on the environmental issues caused by single-use plastic products.

What is single-use plastic and why now?

As the name suggests, single-use plastics are quite simply plastics that are intended to be used only once. A typical example of single-use plastic is food packaging, plastic bags, straws, and water bottles.

Worldwide, hundreds of millions of tons of plastic are produced every year, this figure includes single-use plastics. Single-use plastics can have a detrimental impact on the environment and wildlife.

What is the new regulation?

Canada is starting to take action to combat single-use plastic waste and has brought in a new regulation to help reduce plastic waste.

On 22 June, the Canadian Federal Government published the Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

The act has become an essential government tool for preventing plastic pollution and supporting the move to a circular economy.

What single-use plastics have been banned within Canada?

  • Single-use shopping bags
  • Straws (with some exceptions)
  • Stirring sticks
  • Cutlery
  • Foodservice wear that is made from problematic plastic (further details are available regarding the specific categories of problematic plastic)
  • Ring carriers

The Decree does not currently include household plastic packaging around consumer goods; therefore, household plastic bottles will not be covered.

Who will be affected?

The manufacture, import, export, and sale of the above single-use plastics are due to be banned in stages under the new regulations.

The first to be confirmed is the manufacture and import of the first five categories, coming into effect from December 2022. This will be followed by the remaining categories in June 2023.

Secondly, the ban on sales of the first five categories will come into effect from December 2023 followed by the sale of ring carriers and flexible straws packaged with beverage containers.

Finally, Canada will introduce a ban on exporting all the above six categories by the end of 2025.

How is the Canadian Government helping businesses adapt to the new regulation?

The regulation is accompanied by a guide that has been created specifically for affected businesses.

This guide offers advice and further information on businesses selecting alternative products for their single-use plastics.

The guide can be found on the Canadian Government Website – and details the process that was used in assessing the applicability of the law to the affected products.

Valpak International Compliance Service

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