Canada will ban single-use plastics as early as 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday. Trudeau said the specific items to be banned will be determined based on a science-based review, but the government is considering items such as water bottles, plastic bags, and straws. "As early as 2021, Canada will ban harmful single-use plastics from coast to coast," Trudeau said. He said his government is drawing inspiration from the EU's Parliament, which voted overwhelmingly in March to impose a wide-ranging ban on single-use plastics to counter pollution from discarded items that end up in waterways and fields. Legislatures of the EU member states must vote on the measure before it takes effect.
"Many other countries are doing that and Canada will be one of them," Trudeau said. "This is a big step but we know can do this for 2021." Less than 10% of plastic used in Canada gets recycled. The government said that 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals worldwide are injured or die each year when they mistake plastic for food or become entangled. The EU estimated its changes—which the AP reports affect products for which reasonable alternatives exist, like straws and earbuds—will cost the bloc's economy $291 million to $781 million a year. It's not clear what the cost would be for Canada. China's decision to no longer import some of the EU's waste helped spur the plastics ban.
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