Canadian Government ministers have explained how they will start to implement the Zero Plastic Waste strategy that aims to lower the nation’s use of the material.
Approved by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), the nationwide initiative will aim to minimise plastic waste’s harmful environmental impact through greater prevention, collection and value recovery.
The plan revealed the priority actions and timelines set out for issues such as consistent and extensive responsibility programmes for producers of plastic. Also outlined was a step-by-step plan to address the use of one-off plastics and other disposable forms of the material.
In addition, the initiative covered circular economy-supporting incentives such as infrastructure and innovation investments and guidelines, along with tools for green government procurement practices.
The government has listened to ideas from various stakeholders and interested parties, including packaging firms, institutions, non-government and indigenous organisations and municipalities to develop the action plan.
Nova Scotia Environment Minister Gordon Wilson said: “Canadians are more and more aware of the need to generate less waste. Addressing plastics is one of the many ways we can better protect the environment and strengthen our communities.
“Nova Scotia has a strong record on environmental protection, building a greener economy and waste reduction. It’s been a pleasure to host my colleagues from across the country to share our successes and discuss new solutions.”
The action plan will be implemented together by orders of government, under the jurisdictional authority of each region.
It also recognises the shared responsibility between jurisdictions in preventing plastic waste, while offering the flexibility to implement actions to meet the individual needs of each jurisdiction.
In addition, Canadian Ministers have asked government officials to develop the second phase of the action plan with a focus on preventing plastic pollution in oceans, inland lakes and waterways for consideration at their 2020 meeting.
The second phase of the action plan will also pay particular attention to monitoring the impacts of plastics pollution within the environment through technology, building consumer awareness, launching clean-ups and taking global action.
Furthermore, ministers have approved new Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for ozone for 2025, which focuses on reducing concentrations of ground-level ozone.