A plastic advocacy group has publicly opposed the Liberal government's plan to label single-use plastics as "toxic" in an effort to ban them by 2021, Global News reports.
Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced on Wednesday a ban on six common single-use plastics used by Canadians. This follows an announcement made by the federal government in 2019 before details of the ban were set in place.
The banned products include "checkout bags, straws, stir packs, six-pack rings, cutlery, and food-ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics," according to the minister.
The ban is part of the Trudeau government's plan to eliminate plastic waste in Canada by 2030. The government insists that all of these to-be-banned products have readily available alternatives.
While the government plans to label these items as "toxic," such a description has attracted criticism from the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, who insist that the label is false and misleading.
“It’s a criminal-law tool and it’s intended to manage toxic substances,” said Elena Mantagaris, the vice-president of the CIAC's plastics division. She insists that the labelling of plastics as toxic, alongside carbon dioxide, mercury, lead, and other potentially deadly substances, is "not fair game."
Wilkinson has dismissed such complaints as mere semantics, stating that the government can work with the industry on such a matter if it is a "nomenclature issue."
Both the federal government and the CIAC agree that plastics are harmful for the environment. The CIAC, however, believes that more emphasis on recycling, as opposed to an outright ban, would both serve to protect the environment and allow Canadians to continue to make use of such plastics.
A survey conducted by Dalhousie University earlier this year concluded that the majority of Canadians believe that a single-use plastic ban should not come into place until after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided as many Canadians find themselves more reliant on such products.