Canada announces ban on single-use plastic products by 2021: Page 2 of 2

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) released a joint statement on this issue of banning plastics, stating that while they “fully endorse the objective of stopping waste, including plastic waste, from leaking into the environment,” they caution the government “not to pre-determine the outcome and consider impacts throughout the lifecycle of plastic products and their alternatives. Any rush to judgment could have serious implications on industry’s ability to create a circular economy for plastics that supports the national zero plastic waste strategy.”

Bob Masterson, President and CEO of CIAC, commented: “Consumer education is important, as we need a whole of society approach to the issue. Industry, governments, civil society and consumers must work together to solve this global issue.”

Both CIAC and CPIA realize that plastic does not walk into the environment by itself. It takes lots of irresponsible people to put that much waste—plastic, paper, metal and glass—into the environment. Consumer education must be at the forefront of any campaign to eliminate waste in the environment.

The Canadian chemistry and plastics industries are already stepping up to provide solutions through the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, which is investing over US$1.5 billion to deliver waste management solutions globally. In 2018, CPIA and CIAC members committed to 100% of plastic packaging being re-used, recycled or recovered by 2040, and 100% of plastic packaging being recyclable or recoverable by 2030.

In August of 1944, Smokey the Bear was created and approved by the U.S. Forest Service as a way to educate people on preventing forest fires by extinguishing campfires and not throwing cigarette butts into dry grass and leaves. That ad still runs—in a modern format—because after 75 years, careless people still cause forest fires.

Maybe the plastics industry groups need to band together and develop an icon using a sea creature, such as a sea turtle, in an advertisement to educate consumers about the dangers of being a litterbug. We could have Tommy Turtle climb onto a beach littered with all types of trash—plastic, paper, aluminum, textiles and glass—saying “Only YOU can prevent killing sea life with trash! Put it where it belongs!"

Image: RTimages/Adobe Stock

PT Newsletter Graphic with Digital News Final

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