November 23, 2018 (OTTAWA) – In reaction to the release of the federal government’s new national Zero Plastic Waste strategy following the annual meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), Greenpeace Canada’s Head of Oceans & Plastics campaign Sarah King made the following statement:

“How many more whales full of single-use plastic trash need to wash up on shores around the world before our Minister of the Environment and Climate Change takes strong action to help curb the excessive production of throwaway plastic? The sheer scale and volume of plastic production, predicted to quadruple by 2050, makes it clear that we will not solve this crisis through recycling efforts [1] , increasing recycled content in products that are still one-time-use, voluntary agreements [2] , and timelines that fail to reflect the urgency of the situation, which is how the federal government has chosen to tackle plastic pollution in this weak strategy. McKenna’s strategy is missing the mark.”

The release of this national strategy comes a month after the European Parliament historically voted to ban a range of single-use plastics including cotton buds, straws, cutlery and food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, along with various other measures aimed at curbing plastic waste and pollution. In September, McKenna announced the federal government will ditch unnecessary single-use plastics such as straws, cutlery, packaging, cups and bottles within government operations by 2030. However, since the ban on microbeads that went in effect in January 2018, the government has made no further commitments to eliminate any other harmful and unnecessary single-use plastic items nationwide.

“Minister McKenna has been silent on the important role that bans play in tackling plastic waste reduction across Canada. We’ve seen a growing number of jurisdictions use bans to help reduce the production and consumption of some of the most unnecessary and problematic plastic products as part of a larger reduction strategy. We need real leadership from Canada like we’re seeing in other parts of the world, such as Europe, and this isn’t it,” added King.

Over 27 thousand Canadians sent a clear message to the federal government during the national public consultation on moving Canada towards a zero waste country: phase-out single-use plastics and legislate strong action to reduce plastics at the source, hold corporations accountable and invest in truly sustainable solutions. [3] Greenpeace believes that to reduce plastic pollution we must reduce plastic production and has been calling on the federal government to ban problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics, incentivize a shift to more sustainable product delivery systems and hold corporations accountable for the full lifecycle of their products.

For more information please contact:

Philippa Duchastel de Montrouge, Communications officer, Greenpeace Canada

+1 (514) 929-8227, [email protected]