Woman holding a styrofoam container and plastic water bottle over a blue recycling bin

Canada is Banning Single-Use Plastic, So What?

So Trudeau said Canada will be banning single-use plastics by the end of 2021, so what?

First I want to preface that YES banning single-use plastics is a good thing. It’s a BIG step in the right direction. But it’s not necessarily the plastic that is bad, at least not inherently. Let me explain.

Yes, most plastics aren’t actually recycled.

Yes, plastic is made from oil.

Yes, there’s millions of plastic pieces polluting the land and oceans.

Because what’s already happening is that the hospitality industry is going to shift entirely to biodegradable and compostable materials instead. Cue all the bamboo and palm leaf containers and flatware.

(Note, biodegradable is actually a tad greenwashing because everything including the device you’re reading this blog post on is technically biodegradable — see Instagram Post here).

Compostable versus biodegradable definitions

So now, there’s going to be a drastic increase in demand for these resources and putting a strain on our planet in a different way. 

Additionally, I don’t hear or see a peep from Trudeau about investing and upgrading our waste management systems and infrastructure to accommodate this ban. Because guess what, all of these items (even if they’re certified compostable) aren’t actually accepted into your organics or green bin.

Mind blown?

Yeah me too (when I first heard).

Bird's eye view of the back of a garbage truck with two employees dumping the contents of a bin into the truck

It sucks. Because even though bamboo and palm leaf items have a smaller carbon footprint on the production side, it still ultimately ends up in the landfill at the end of its life.

So what’s the actual problem here? 

IT’S OUR CULTURE AND MINDSET OF SINGLE-USE THAT HAS TO CHANGE.

We absolutely need to stop choosing convenience over everything else. Because when you throw something away, where the heck is ‘away’ anyway?

Maybe it’s not directly in your backyard, but it is harmful for someone else or our beloved animals on our planet.

Choose reusable and think about keeping things entirely out of the landfill for as long as possible.

Here’s what you can start doing today:

  • Avoid single-use anything when and where possible, bring your own coffee or water
    • Use apps like MUUSE in Toronto to find coffee shops that rent out reusable containers
  • Write to your local coffee shops and restaurants about switching to reusable containers like MySuppli
  • Reuse containers when you can (hello pasta jars!)
  • Shop at local refill stores or your closest Bulk Barn with those containers
  • Refuse single-use items like cutlery and straws where possible (top tip: carry your own reusable one in a case like I do)

What other tips do you have? Let us know in the comments below. Better yet, join our next Sustainability Mastermind here for more inspiration and group accountability.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.