(The Canadian Press)

Canada should aim to recycle 85% of plastics by 2025, groups say

Justin Trudeau wants this week’s G7 leaders summit to include the signing of an anti-plastics charter

Dozens of environmental groups say if Canada wants to be a leader in getting the rest of the world to kick its plastics habit, it has to start by setting the bar for recycling plastics far higher at home.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants this week’s G7 leaders summit in Quebec to include the signing of an anti-plastics charter, setting international targets to cut down on the use of plastics and finding ways to include more recycled materials in the plastics we do use.

Estimates show up to 10 million tonnes of plastic garbage ends up in the oceans each year, and across the oceans there are multiple islands of trash, including one in the Pacific that rivals the size of the province of Quebec.

The G7 plastics strategy is to have four main components: targets for reducing the amount of plastic waste produced around the world, domestic strategies to meet those targets, working with industry to develop better products to replace plastic or make plastics more easily recyclable, and assistance for the developing world to adapt better waste management.

But Canada is going into the G7 without a national plan to address plastics, and more than 40 non-governmental organizations released a declaration on Monday calling on Trudeau to set national targets for how much plastic Canadians should recycle and what percentage of new products should be made from recycled materials.

“We’re challenging the Canadian government to work with provinces, territories, Indigenous governments, municipalities, to put together a plan to ensure that Canada achieves zero plastic waste,” said Ashley Wallis, program manager at Environmental Defence, one of the organizations that signed the declaration.

READ MORE: Potato chip bags, plastic pouches now accepted in new Recycle BC program

By 2025, the groups want Canada to increase its plastic recycling rate so 85 per cent of single-use plastic items like water bottles and take-out containers are recycled. Currently Canadians recycle about 11 per cent of all plastics. They also want Canada to implement a rule requiring all single-use plastics to be made of at least 75 per cent recycled material.

Other items on their list are legislation to require producers of plastics to pay to collect and recycle the plastic they produce, and a regulation to ban any plastics or additives to plastics that are toxic or difficult to recycle. They also want Canada to implement policies for federal procurement that require anyone selling or providing a service to the federal government has a plan to recover all plastics used, and that the plastics used contain at least 75 per cent recycled content.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna launched consultations for a national plastics strategy in April, but has set no deadlines for when one might be produced. Wallis said having at least an outline of Canada’s domestic plans by the time McKenna hosts G7 environment ministers in September would allow Canada to credibly consider itself a leader on this file.

McKenna has previously said establishing a national strategy is complicated by the fact recycling and waste are usually governed by provincial legislation and carried out by municipalities. Wallis noted Canada overcame similar issues for climate change by developing a national framework and setting national targets and then allowing provinces the room to develop local policies that would meet those targets.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities echoed that sentiment Saturday when municipal leaders voted in favour of a resolution calling for a national plastics strategy, including setting targets to help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean. Vicki-May Hamm, the new president of the FCM, said municipalities know Ottawa can’t act alone to manage plastics — but neither can municipalities.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

Furever Ours dance coming to Botha

Tickets still left for “Furever Ours” dine and dance

‘Just like Iron Man’: Calgary surgeon undergoes experimental spinal surgery

Dr. Richi Gill was in a freak accident on a boogie board during a family vacation in Hawaii

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Andrew McCabe said FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia

Team Alberta adds nine medals on day two of competition at Canada Winter Games

Team Alberta had a solid day at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

PHOTOS: Canada Games action from the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

Wheelchair basketball, short-track speedskating draw large crowds

Most Read