Feds open consultations on plastic registration to eventually track waste

A federal plastics registry is on the way, which would require companies to track and report on their plastic production, and average Canadians are invited to weigh in.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has launched a consultation to allow local governments, businesses, experts, plastics manufacturers and any interested Canadians to share their opinions on the creation of the federal register.

He consultation open December 30 and will remain open until February 13.

“Canadians are demanding action to address the plastic pollution and waste crisis, and the federal government will continue to act,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. he said in a press release.

“The Federal Plastics Registry is an important tool that will help track and manage plastics across the economy. It will help provinces and territories hold producers accountable for their end-of-life plastic waste and help Canada move forward.” towards a circular economy for plastics”.

The idea behind the registry is to hold companies accountable as Canada moves toward its goal of minimizing plastic pollution, and also provide actionable data on the amount and type of plastic moving through the Canadian market.

Producers will need to report each year on how much plastic they create, as well as how it moves through the economy to get an idea of ​​its useful life, including whether or not it is recycled or simply ends up in landfills.

According to the release, Canadians threw away 4.4 million tonnes of plastic waste in 2019, and only nine per cent is recycled.

According to Environmental Defense and the Canadian Environmental Law Association, more than 90 per cent of plastic waste in Canada ends up in landfills, incinerators or directly into the natural environment. Landfills account for 23 per cent of Canada’s methane emissions.

Research has shown that plastic has a huge impact on the environment, both as a difficult-to-decompose product and through its production, the process of which can introduce harmful chemicals into the environment.

Canada aims to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. As part of this pursuit, the government has banned single-use plastic items with the first phase coming into effect in December 2022.

A Federal Court ruling recently challenged Ottawa’s categorization of all “items made from plastic” as toxic, deciding that the federal government was overreaching by including all plastic. The ruling does not undo the ban on the manufacture and import of stir sticks, grocery bags, cutlery, takeout containers and rings for six-pack drinks, but it could cause problems with the government’s plan to properly regulate plastic.

The federal government has said it will appeal the ruling.

The plastics registry is not an extension of the single-use ban, but rather a separate tool to get a better idea of ​​where plastic waste is most egregious in Canada, although single-use plastics are listed as a category that The sectors must report. for the record.

The federal plastics registry has been in the works for some time: a consultation document was published in July 2022, followed by a white paper in April 2023 outlining how the registry could work. The public was previously invited to comment following the publication of the white paper.

The registry will be developed in phases, with some sectors, such as packaging and electrical equipment, required to report on their plastic production before others, such as agriculture and textiles.

Currently, the first phase of reporting will not begin until June 2025.

The registry will first collect information on plastics traded, followed by plastics collected for diversion, plastics that are reused, remanufactured or repaired, and those that are recycled and recovered for energy.

According to the January release, the registry would also make this information accessible to Canadians and businesses through a publicly accessible platform.

With files from CTVNews.ca writer Megan DeLaire

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