Oceana Canada, a non-profit organisation, has released a new federal policy roadmap, ‘Breaking the Plastic Cycle’, with an aim to reduce one-third of Canada’s single-use plastic pollution.

The organisation claims that Canada can kerb 720,000 tonnes (t) of single-use plastic annually if its government follows Oceana’s advice.

The findings from Oceana’s new report, which focuses on single-use plastic packaging, suggest that despite the increasing population and associated demand, the country can significantly minimise its plastic waste generation using certain existing national policy tools.

Oceana claims that its proposed action plan, if implemented, could help the country in significantly limiting its single-use plastic waste by 2026.

As per the roadmap’s guidance, Canada should impose bans on unnecessary and hard-to-recycle items and implement pollution prevention plans for some of its key sectors.

It also suggests establishing refill and reuse provisions and proven recycling targets.

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Oceana specified seven sectors that are major contributors of single-use plastic, including – grocery stores, e-commerce, dine-out food services, dine-in food services, beverage bottle producers, polyvinyl chloride or polystyrene producers, and the pallet wrap industry.

Collectively, these sectors generate 41% of the plastic packaging waste in Canada and the roadmap has specific recommendations for each of these areas.

For example, grocery stores, which annually generate more than 382,430t of single-use plastics, should be required to unwrap and remove non-recyclable packaging and reintroduce refill systems to achieve a 45% plastic packaging waste reduction by 2040.

Oceana Plastics campaigner Anthony Merante said: “Environment and Climate Change Canada took the first step in banning six categories of unnecessary single-use plastics last year and committing to recycled content requirements, improving plastics labelling and reining in plastic at major grocers across Canada.

“If the government follows our recommendations, by 2040 Canada will prevent the generation of nine million tonnes of plastic waste.

“Our data shows that population growth will outweigh the impact of low-ambition policies that are slow walked. Only through ambitious, sector-wide action can Canada reduce plastic waste and become a global leader on the path to a plastic-free future.”