The call urges the government to introduce stringent recycled content laws that increase the availability of refillable and reusable consumer packaging choices and stop the burning of plastic waste, which releases harmful cancer-causing emissions into the air, water and soil.
Investing in recycling will not end the plastic disaster. Only eight per cent of the three million tonnes of plastic produced in Canada is recycled. More than 90 per cent is burned or ends up in landfills and the environment. This low rate of recycling is attributed to challenges with the composition of single-use plastics that impede proper waste management, such as mixed materials, chemical additives or dyes and colour additives. Canada is also projected to burn 22 per cent of its plastic waste per year by 2030, up from four per cent in 2019, through a highly toxic process called “advanced recycling.”
“We cannot recycle and burn our way out of this disaster,” said Anthony Merante, Plastics Campaigner at Oceana Canada. “We need Canadians to join us in standing up to the plastic pollution crisis and insist that our government move us away from unnecessary single-use plastics that harm our planet and toward the most viable long-term solutions to achieve zero plastic waste: refillable and reusable packaging choices.”
Since 2019, Oceana Canada has been advocating to reduce plastic pollution, meeting with decision makers, publishing reports on the state of plastic, putting forward science-based recommendations to achieve zero plastic waste and encouraging Canadians to call on the federal government to enact strong bans on single-use plastics.