Earlier this month, the Canadian government sent shockwaves across the grocery industry when they announced plans for a sweeping nationwide ban on all single-use plastics in 2021.
There’s no debate that the rampant production of single-use plastics has done serious damage to our environment over the years. That is why at various levels of government in Canada and the United States, legislation has been coming through with the purpose of limiting and even eliminating the use of these plastic products.
Tracking the Plastic Bag Bans across Canada & the U.S.
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In Canada, the federal government recently announced plans for a nationwide ban on a wide range of single-use plastic products. While this includes plastic grocery bags, the ban also will apply to items such as straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery, and more. The aim is to ban these items from being used across Canada by the end of 2021 so the country can have zero plastic waste by 2030. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste on an annual basis. However, only 9% of that plastic waste is recycled, causing the rest of it to be taken to landfills. The federal government estimates that approximately 29,000 tonnes of that plastic waste ends up going directly into our natural environment.
Elsewhere, similar changes have been brewing with just as much momentum. While no nationwide legislation currently exists, states such as California and New York have consistently led the way on these issues. In New York, a new bag waste reduction law that will take effect in 2020 will see all plastic carryout bags (other than bags that are exempt under the law) banned from distribution by anyone required to collect New York State sales tax. Bags that are considered exempt by this law include ones such as pharmacy bags used to carry prescription drugs and produce bags for items such as fruits and vegetables. The New York DEC began enforcing this law on October 19th, 2020.
For more information on this legislation, please visit: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/50034.html
In California, another state known for being ahead of the curve on environmental issues, many bans have already been put in place to help curb the use of plastics. In 2019, legislation was passed with the purpose of phasing out single-use plastic food containers and other packaging that isn’t considered recyclable or compostable. Meanwhile, back in 2014, California became the first state to create legislation that imposed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at large retail stores. The bill mandated that retailers charge shoppers a 10-cent fee for reusable plastic bags or paper bags.
In other states and provinces, COVID-19 has caused governments to delay the implementation of previously agreed upon laws to ban plastics. These rollbacks have been temporary though, and we’re now seeing that bag bans are being reintroduced. With these bans coming into effect in full force once more, this is why we at BYOB strive to improve sustainable practices on a global scale. With over 15 years of experience under our belt, it’s always been our mission to develop new products and ideas that help make our planet a better place to live.
To learn more about the many reusable bag and merchandising options available right here at BYOB, view our solutions at BRINGYOUROWNBAG.COM