The Canadian government is cracking down on the manufacture, importation, and sale of various single-use plastic items such as checkout bags, cutlery, and more.
The ban will be implemented in phases, with the prohibition against manufacturing and importing many of the plastic products slated to take effect later this year.
"The ban on the manufacture and import of these harmful single-use plastics, barring a few targeted exceptions to recognize specific cases, will come into effect in December 2022," according to a government press release. "To provide businesses in Canada with enough time to transition and to deplete their existing stocks, the sale of these items will be prohibited as of December 2023. The Government will also prohibit the export of plastics in the six categories by the end of 2025, making Canada the first among peer jurisdictions to do so internationally."
Plastic straws are on the chopping block, with some exceptions. Retail stores will be permitted to sell flexible plastic straws bundled in a pack of 20 or more upon request, but they must keep the product out of sight. Medical institutions will not be blocked from giving patients flexible plastic straws.
"Manufacture and import of [single-use plastic] flexible straws are not prohibited under the Regulations, but sale of SUP flexible straws is only permitted in specific circumstances," according to guidelines about the regulations. "These flexible straws are considered more accessible than straight straws as they can bend and maintain their position."
"By the end of the year, you won’t be able to manufacture or import these harmful plastics. After that, businesses will begin offering the sustainable solutions Canadians want, whether that’s paper straws or reusable bags. With these new regulations, we're taking a historic step forward in reducing plastic pollution, and keeping our communities and the places we love clean," Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault said, according to the press release.
In response to a tweet from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the regulations, Keean Bexte declared, "All you've done is convinced me to import a lifetime supply of straws (enough of every kind). You can peel them out of my cold dead hands."
"How are you going to jet across the world polluting the air more than any other person in Canada and then ban us peasants from using grocery bags," someone else tweeted.
"@JustinTrudeau how about you ban them for your family and leave the rest of canada out if it. Have you ever drank a slurpee with a paper straw?? It's the worst!! #JustinTrudeau ruiner of slurpees in canada!!" someone else tweeted.