After plastics charter, Ottawa looking at curbing own use to reduce garbage

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Plastic straws are pictured in North Vancouver, B.C. on Monday, June 4, 2018. The political aide to Canada’s environment minister says Canada is looking at reducing how much plastic the federal government uses as it seeks a national strategy to curb Canada’s addiction to plastic. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

The political aide to Canada’s environment minister says the federal government is looking to reduce its use of plastic as it pursues a national strategy to curb Canada’s addiction to the material.

Two days after Canada and four other G7 nations signed a Canadian-driven plastics charter that commits to keeping plastic out of landfills by 2040, MPs and environment groups are asking what Ottawa will actually do to implement the charter at home.

British Columbia MP Jonathan Wilkinson, the parliamentary secretary to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, says Canada’s strategy is still in development but it may include leading by example through the government’s own use of plastics.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has so far stopped short of banning plastics outright, arguing that the problem is much greater than simply getting rid of plastic straws and cups.

Canada is playing catch-up with municipal and provincial governments, which are already banning plastic bags, as well as multinational corporations that are eliminating plastic packaging and increasing their use of recycled materials.

Last week, Prince Edward Island became the first provincial legislature to pass a law that would ban grocery stores from distributing plastic bags, while Ikea and A&W have announced plans to eliminate certain single-use plastic items by 2020.