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Canada Analyzes Measure to Require Certain Plastic Items be Made of at Least 50% Recycled Material

Plastic pollution litters communities, waterways and the natural spaces Canadians love, and is a collective problem that must be addressed. Every year, Canadians throw away three million tons of plastic waste, less than 10 percent of which is recycled. This means that the vast majority of plastic waste produced in Canada ends up in landfills or enters the environment as pollution where it poses a risk to wildlife and their habitat. That is why the Government of Canada is committed to increasing the recycled content in certain plastic products and packaging to at least 50 percent by 2030.

To that end, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honorable Steven Guilbeault, recently launched a consultation process on the development of new regulations that will set minimum percentage recycled content requirements for certain items made of plastic. The proposed regulations would reduce the amount of plastic entering landfills and the environment by strengthening demand for recycled plastics. This will drive improvements to recycling systems and product design, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote a circular economy for plastics.

The Government of Canada is taking ambitious action to reduce plastic pollution through a comprehensive approach that addresses the entire life cycle of plastics. Alongside provinces and territories, it is moving forward on a Canada-wide strategy to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. In addition to requiring recycled content in certain plastic products and packaging, this strategy includes working with provinces and territories to make plastics producers responsible for their waste. Today’s consultation launch is an important component of that strategy, and will help advance the government’s comprehensive approach to reduce plastic waste and pollution.

Canadians and stakeholders are invited to comment, before March 14, 2022, on proposed measures that would set minimum recycled content requirements for certain plastic manufactured items. The Government is targeting publication of proposed regulations by the end of 2022.

“The government is committed to achieving zero plastic waste by 2030. A key part of this plan is establishing recycled content standards, which will drive demand for recycled plastics and help facilitate the transition toward a circular plastics economy. Recycled content requirements would help to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and the environment, while also decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Together, we can achieve zero plastic waste and keep our communities clean,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.