Trudeau Liberals urge Canadians to ditch plastic cutlery, bring own containers when eating out

Businesses, they say, should "consider providing more meal options that do not require the use of cutlery (for example, wraps and sandwiches)."

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

The Trudeau Liberals released their latest guidance regarding single-use plastics as they attempt to end the use of such materials in Canada.

The guidance, developed by Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault's office, urges Canadians to ditch plastic cutlery and bring their own containers when eating take-out.

"Single-use plastic cutlery is primarily associated with takeout meals," the guidance states, "however, when a customer consumes a takeout meal at their residence, single-use cutlery is not required, or often even desired, by the customer."

It goes on to suggest that "businesses should consider giving customers the option to specify whether they require single-use cutlery at all," and "consider providing more meal options that do not require the use of cutlery (for example, wraps and sandwiches)." Business are also urged to charge customers for cutlery to "discourage their use."

For situations where single-use cutlery is required, wooden alternatives are pushed as the preferred alternative to plastic.

Even if people don't use cutlery, they will likely still need a place to put their food. The guidelines suggest that businesses should ask customers to bring their own reusable containers. If that is not an option, then "containers made of glass, stainless steel, silicone or rigid recyclable plastic" are billed as viable alternatives.

Regulations set to take effect in the coming years will "prohibit the manufacture, import, sale and eventually export" of six categories of single-use plastics, including "checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, ring carriers, stir sticks and straws."

These rules will impact businesses, since the majority of plastic alternatives are quite costly in comparison. As the Western Standard reports, manufacturing wooden cutlery, for example, is more than twice as expensive as plastic.


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