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Environment expert speaks on Trudeau's plan to go plastic free

He also shares what consumers and companies can do to help.
1206 SingleUseBan DR64
NO MORE OF THIS – Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that Canada would bring in a series of measures to ban single use plastic items in Canada as soon as 2021. Photo by DAN RIEDLHUBER/St. Albert Gazette
In an interview with 1310 NEWS, Duncan Bury, a spokesman for Waste Watch Ottawa shares his thoughts on what the federal government is and could be doing to ban single-use plastics by 2021.
In light of issues like global warming, improper recycling practices and more recently, stories of Canadian waste shipped to the Philippines, Justin Trudeau has announced plans to ban single-use plastics in Canada by 2021.
According to Bury, the federal government plans to review the environmental and health impacts of different plastics to determine which are most problematic, and to figure out if they can be regulated or managed in other ways that may not involve banning.
"So what they've done is they've fired the starting gun on scientific process which is going to lead, I think pretty much, to certainly some of these materials ultimately disappearing from the marketplace," he says.
Bury says the government will focus mainly on single-use plastics and not more durable forms of it that have a greater life expectancy, like the kind used in piping, sewers, insulation, and other construction materials.
"The real focus of the problem is on the quick turn-around plastic packaging," explains Bury. "And that's where the real problem lies and that's where we're getting maybe 20-25% of that kind of material. It's a big, big part of the waste stream and it's a major waste contributor and this is where really the focus is."
When asked how people can do their part, he mentions simple changes, like using reusable bags and bottles for water as well as following in the footsteps of provinces like British Columbia and Prince Edward Island and choosing to go plastic bag free. He also touches on what companies could do on their end.
"One of the bigger ideas that's woven into this is producer responsibility," he says, adding, "So you make Costco and you make Canadian Tire and Nestle and Unilever and so on, responsible for these materials to actually fund the recycling of these programs and the cost in operating which is what's done in British Columbia," he says.
Bury says the problem won't be easy to fix, but when asked if he thinks the issue can be done by 2021, the spokesman is hopeful.
"It will be a race, but it is possible," he says.


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