Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 155, Number 52: Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations
December 25, 2021
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
Department of the Environment
Department of Health
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
Issues: Current scientific evidence indicates that macroplastic pollution poses an ecological hazard, including physical harm, to some animals and their habitat. Canadians consume substantial quantities of single-use plastic manufactured items (SUPs) every year. These SUPs are designed to be discarded once their single use has been fulfilled. A share of that waste becomes plastic pollution. Action is needed to restrict or eliminate SUPs that pose a threat of harm to the environment.
Description: The proposed Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations (the proposed Regulations) would prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of six categories of SUPs (i.e. checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws). Manufacture and import for the purposes of export would not be subject to the proposed prohibition. Checkout bags, cutlery, and straws have reusable substitutes so the proposed Regulations would identify performance standards to differentiate between single-use and reusable items for these three product categories. The proposed Regulations would also provide exemptions to accommodate people with disabilities. These exemptions are linked to the conditions upon which straws are sold. Therefore, the prohibitions on sale of straws would come into force one year after the proposed Regulations are registered. The prohibition on sale for all other single-use items would come into force two years after the proposed Regulations are registered. The prohibitions on manufacture and import of all six single-use items would come into force one year after registration of the proposed Regulations.
Rationale: Plastics are among the most universally used materials in modern society. Single-use consumer items are often the most commonly collected items in litter clean-ups, with plastic being the most common material recovered in both domestic and international clean-up efforts. The six categories of SUPs subject to the proposed Regulations represented an estimated 160 000 tonnes sold in 2019, or an estimated 5% of the total plastic waste generated in Canada in 2019.
The proposed Regulations would support the federal, provincial, and territorial governments’ Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste. Several provincial, territorial, and municipal jurisdictions have already enacted prohibitions or standards for certain SUPs. On October 7, 2020, the Department of the Environment (the Department) published a discussion paper on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act Registryfootnote 1 outlining a proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution. During the ensuing 60-day public comment period, the Department received 205 written submissions representing the views of 251 stakeholder groups (156 industry members; 38 provincial, territorial, or municipal governments; 3 Indigenous groups; 32 non-governmental organizations; and 22 other groups). In addition, the Department received over 24 000 emails from individual Canadians, and an online petition started by a civil society group that received over 100 000 signatures. Overall, support for the proposed Regulations has been mostly positive from environmental non-governmental organizations and local governments and negative from some industry stakeholders. Other industry stakeholders have announced or have begun transitioning away from using SUPs. Support for the proposed Regulations from provincial and territorial governments has been mixed.
The proposed Regulations are expected to result in a net decrease of approximately 1.4 million tonnes in plastic waste over a 10-year period (2023–2032), which would represent around 4% of the total estimated plastic waste generated in Canada each year. It would also result in a decrease of around 23 000 tonnes in plastic pollution over the same period, which would represent 7% of the total plastic pollution generated each year. The proposed Regulations are expected to result in $1.9 billion in present value costs over the analytical period. While these costs are significant in aggregate, they would be widely dispersed across Canadian consumers (around $5 per capita per year). The proposed Regulations would also result in $619 million in present value monetized benefits over the analytical period, stemming mainly from the avoided cost of terrestrial litter clean-up. The costs and monetized benefits of the proposed Regulations would therefore be $1.3 billion in present value net cost over the analytical period. Given the extent of ecological harm that can be inflicted to wildlife and their habitats from the plastic pollution of the six categories of SUPs, and the reduction of enjoyment of ecosystem goods and services by Canadians, the associated non-monetized benefits are expected to be significant.
The Canadian economy generates large amounts of plastic waste every year, of which a certain proportion enters the environment as plastic pollution. Current scientific evidence indicates that macroplastic pollution causes physical harm to wildlife on an individual level and has the potential to adversely affect habitat integrity. Single-use plastic manufactured items (SUPs) are significant contributors to plastic pollution, as they are designed to be discarded once their single use has been fulfilled. Preventing pollution and waste is an area of shared jurisdiction between all levels of government in Canada, and plastic pollution from certain SUPs is an issue with national and international dimensions that cannot be effectively eliminated through provincial, territorial, or local measures alone. Therefore, the Minister of the Environment (the Minister), in accordance with section 93 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA or “the Act”), is recommending that the Governor in Council propose to eliminate or restrict six categories of SUPs subject to the proposed Regulations. These categories are the following: checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws (hereafter referred to as the “six categories of SUPs”).
Lifecycle of plastic manufactured items in the Canadian economy
Plastics are among the most universally used material in modern society. Plastics are low-cost and durable and are used in a wide range of applications, such as packaging, construction materials, automotive materials, electronics, textiles, and medical and personal protective equipment. Plastics can be created from a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds and are formed from long-chain polymers of high molecular mass that often contain chemical additives. Different polymers can be manufactured using different compositions of petroleum products, plant-based starting material, or recycled and recovered plastics. Plastic manufactured items can be formed into a specific physical shape or design during manufacture and serve many different functions. They can include final products, as well as components of products. The scientific literature often categorizes plastic pollution by size, in an environmental context. Individual pieces of plastic that are less than or equal to 5 millimetres (mm) in size are referred to as microplastics, while those that are greater than 5 mm in size are referred to as macroplastics. Microplastics can be “primary microplastics” (intentionally produced micro-sized plastic particles), or “secondary microplastics” (micro-sized plastic particles resulting from the breakdown of larger plastic manufactured items).
The proper management of plastic manufactured items is a global issue as millions of tonnes of plastics are produced each year around the world. It is estimated that half of the plastics produced each year are for single-use items.footnote 2 In 2020, 367 million tonnes of plastic were produced globally, a 0.3% decrease from 2019.footnote 3 The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a decrease in production for the packaging sector, though individual consumption of plastic manufactured items may have increased (see the “Benefits and costs” section for more information on the estimated effects).
In order to better understand the quantities, uses, and end-of-life management of plastics in the Canadian economy, the Department of the Environment (the Department) commissioned the Economic Study of the Canadian Plastic Industry, Markets and Waste (the Deloitte Study), which was published in 2019. As displayed in Figure 1, the Deloitte Study found that approximately 4.7 million tonnes of plastic resins (raw materials) were introduced to the domestic market in 2016, while approximately 3.3 million tonnes of plastic manufactured items became plastic waste. The packaging sector alone accounted for 43% (approximately 1.4 million tonnes) of all plastic waste generated, as the vast majority of packaging is designed to become waste after fulfilling a single use. Of the 3.3 million tonnes of plastic waste generated nationally in 2016, 2.8 million tonnes (86%) were landfilled, 300 000 tonnes (9%) were recycled, 137 000 tonnes (4%) were incinerated with, or without, energy recovery, and 29 000 tonnes (1%) became plastic pollution, of which 2 500 tonnes were marine plastic pollution. Using those numbers, Canadians produced around 800 grams of plastic pollution per capita in 2016. If observed market trends were to continue, the Deloitte Study estimates that the 2016 figures for plastic waste and plastic pollution could increase by roughly one third by 2030.
Figure 1. Canadian plastic flow in thousands of tonnes (2016)
Figure from the Economic Study of the Canadian Plastic Industry, Markets and Waste, p. ii
Figure 1. Canadian plastic flow in thousands of tonnes (2016) - Text version
Diagram from the 2019 Deloitte Study illustrating the flow of plastics through the Canadian economy in 2016. To start, 4 667 kilotonnes of plastic resins (raw materials) were used in products that were introduced to the domestic market, from which 3 268 kilotonnes of plastics in products were discarded as waste. Of the 4 667 kilotonnes of plastic resins that were used in end-use applications, 3 068 kilotonnes became durable plastics and 1 599 kilotonnes became nondurable plastics. Durable plastics generated 1 681 kilotonnes of waste, and nondurable plastics generated 1 587 kilotonnes of waste, resulting in 3 268 kilotonnes of plastic waste generated in 2016. Of the 3 268 kilotonnes of plastic waste generated nationally, 2 795 kilotonnes (86%) were landfilled, 305 kilotonnes (9%) were recycled, 137 kilotonnes (4%) were incinerated with energy recovery, and 29 kilotonnes (1%) ended up in unmanaged dumps or were leaked into the environment. Of the 305 kilotonnes of plastic waste recycled, 256 kilotonnes were processed through mechanical (polymer) recycling, while 40 kilotonnes were processed through chemical recycling from disposed waste, and 9 kilotonnes were processed through chemical recycling from diverted waste.
Figure 1 also illustrates the Deloitte Study’s finding that the current Canadian plastics economy is mostly linear, as opposed to circular. Under a linear economy, plastic manufactured items follow a unidirectional path: production from mostly virgin (as opposed to recycled) materials, usage (until no longer deemed useful), and then disposal into the waste stream, mostly for landfill. Put another way, most plastic manufactured items in a linear economy are produced from virgin resins, and their value is not recovered at the end of their useful life. Therefore, most of the plastic waste generated in Canada enters landfills and exits the economy, representing a significant potential lost economic opportunity.
By contrast, a circular economy is a model of production and consumption that recovers and restores products, components, and materials through strategies like reuse, repair, remanufacture or (as a last resort) recycling.footnote 4 In a circular economy, plastic manufactured items would be produced by a number of different pathways, one of which includes using recycled resins. Their value would be recovered at the end of their useful life to be reintegrated into the economy. In this way, the end of the value chain for one manufactured item becomes the start of the value chain for another, thereby extending life cycles and resulting in fewer adverse environmental impacts.
There are many factors contributing to the linear nature of the plastics economy in Canada, including the following:
- virgin and recycled plastic resins compete: competition is difficult for the recycling industry because of inconsistent feedstock composition and a more labour-intensive cost structure compared to virgin resin production, which can take advantage of economies of scale;
- weak end-markets for recycled plastics: in some cases, recycled resins are a cheaper substitute for product manufacturers, for example for use in less demanding applications, but overall, the inconsistent supply of quality feedstock at a competitive price undermines the establishment of viable and lasting end-markets;
- collection rates are low: only 25% of plastics are collected and sent to a sorting facility in Canada according to the Deloitte Study (through curbside collection, recycling depots, or deposit-refund systems), and only around a third of collected plastics are effectively recycled because of contamination, infrastructure deficiencies, and lack of end-markets;
- insufficient recovery options: current near absence of high-volume recovery options, losses from existing processes, and competition from low-cost disposal substitutes, such as landfills, point to the need for investments in innovation and infrastructure, in particular to commercialize and scale up new technologies; and
- cost of plastic pollution is shouldered by individuals and communities: the responsibility for preventing and managing land-based sources of plastic pollution, such as urban and roadside litter, is largely shouldered by municipalities, civil society organizations, and volunteers, at a great cost.
The Deloitte Study estimated that 2 500 tonnes of the plastic waste generated in Canada in 2016 entered the oceans as plastic pollution, while the amount of plastic pollution entering Canadian freshwaters (e.g. the Great Lakes, other lakes, rivers) but never reaching the oceans is unknown. Internationally, academic studies have estimated the total amount of plastic pollution entering oceans globally at between 8 million tonnes and 13 million tonnes per year.footnote 5 In fact, plastics constitute the most prevalent type of litter found in the oceans, estimated to make up at least 80% of total marine debris (from surface waters to deep-sea sediments), plastic bags being among the most prevalent littered items.footnote 6
The Deloitte Study indicates that one of the key pathways for plastic waste to become terrestrial or marine plastic pollution is people dropping litter on the ground or directly into aquatic environments. An estimated 80% of all marine plastic pollution originates on land and is transported to the ocean via wind or rivers, with the remaining 20% attributable to fishing activities, natural disasters, and other sources.footnote 7 Once plastic pollution reaches oceans, the majority will slowly weather and fragment into microplastics, accumulate on shorelines, sink to the seabed, or float on the sea surface, but will never fully decompose.
Plastic pollution is found on the shorelines of every continent, with greater proliferation typically found near tourist destinations and densely populated areas. Large-scale marine and freshwater litter clean-ups are very costly, and therefore, limited in practice. While such clean-ups may result in temporary benefits, they do not alter the inflow of plastic pollution into marine or freshwater environments, and must therefore be frequently repeated for sustained benefits to be realized. For this reason, preventing plastic pollution from entering the environment in the first place is often seen as the only viable approach to successfully managing the issue of marine plastic pollution on a long-term basis.footnote 7
Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution
In October 2020, the Department of the Environment and the Department of Health published a Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution (the Science Assessment) on the Canada.ca (Chemical Substances) website. The intent of the Science Assessment was to summarize the current state of the science regarding the potential impacts of plastic pollution on the environment and human health, as well as to inform future decision-making on plastic pollution in Canada. The Science Assessment found that macroplastic and microplastic pollution are ubiquitous in the environment. The Science Assessment also found that many sources of release contribute to plastic pollution, and that the potential effects of microplastics on individual animals, the environment, and human health are unclear and require more research.
With respect to macroplastic pollution, the Science Assessment found evidence of adverse effects, including mortality, to some animals through
- entanglement, which can lead to suffocation, strangulation, or smothering;
- ingestion, which can block airways or intestinal systems leading to suffocation or starvation; and
- transport of invasive species into well-established ecosystems or transport of diseases that can alter the genetic diversity of an ecosystem when they use the plastic pollution as a vessel for rafting.
Overall, the Science Assessment recommended pursuing immediate action to reduce the presence of plastic pollution in the environment, in accordance with the precautionary principle as defined in section 2 of CEPA.
Government action on plastic waste and plastic pollution
The Government of Canada has committed to taking action to reduce plastic waste and plastic pollution through several avenues. In November 2018, through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments approved, in principle, a Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste (PDF) (the Strategy). The Strategy takes a circular economy approach to plastics and provides a framework for action in Canada. Federal, provincial, and territorial governments are collaborating to implement the Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste (the Action Plan), for which Phase 1 (PDF) and Phase 2 (PDF) were approved in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
In October 2020, the Government published a discussion paper entitled A proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution (the Discussion Paper). The Discussion Paper outlined a proposed integrated management approach that addresses the entire life cycle of plastics to prevent plastic waste and plastic pollution. The Government described a suite of measures to be developed under CEPA to implement the integrated management approach, which will seek to
- manage single-use plastics using a management framework;
- establish performance standards for plastic products to reduce (or eliminate) their environmental impact and stimulate demand for recycled plastics; and
- ensure end-of-life responsibility, so that companies that manufacture or import plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging are responsible for collecting and recycling them.
Responses to the Discussion Paper received from stakeholders, partners, and the public are presented in detail in the “Consultation” section.
Based on the findings of the Science Assessment and other available information, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health (the ministers) were satisfied that plastic manufactured items met the ecological criterion for a toxic substance as set out in paragraph 64(a) of CEPA. In order to develop risk management measures under CEPA to address the potential ecological risks associated with certain plastic manufactured items becoming plastic pollution, the Administrator in Council made an Order adding plastic manufactured items to Schedule 1 to CEPA, which was published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on May 12, 2021. The listing enables the ministers to propose risk management measures under CEPA that could target the sources of plastic pollution and change behaviour at key stages in the life cycle of plastic products, such as product design, manufacture, use, disposal, and value recovery.
Most prevalent items contributing to plastic pollution
Internationally, single-use consumer items are often the most commonly picked up items in litter clean-ups, with plastic being the most common material recovered. The top 10 items reported in the Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup 2020 report (in which Canada participated) were food wrappers, cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps, straws and stir sticks, plastic cups and plates, plastic grocery bags, plastic take-out containers, other plastic bags and plastic lids. Since 2017, the top 10 items collected each year have all been made of plastic. Similarly, data based on total items collected over time from the European Environment Agencyfootnote 8 shows that the most common category of items found as marine litter on the beach are cigarette butts, plastic caps and drink lids, shopping bags, string and cord food wrappers, cotton bud sticks, drink bottles and food containers. Based on material, plastic was found to account for 87% of all materials collected over time.footnote 9
Domestically, a separate clean-up effort in 2019, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup,footnote 10 also found cigarette butts, food wrappers, bottle caps, plastic bags, plastic bottles and straws in their top 10 most commonly found litter items. The top 10 accounted for over 1.6 million items collected in Canada in 2019. The weight of all items collected in 2019 was almost double the weight of all items collected in 2017. Other common plastic items found in shoreline clean-up data include cutlery, ring carriers, cups, pieces of foam and plastic fragments, and personal hygiene products.
Despite the differences in the number of items recovered in each item category, some item categories are considered more environmentally problematic in terms of being more harmful to wildlife or the environment in general, based on their material, weight and shape or structure. Of common consumer items made of plastic, plastic bags have been found to pose one of the greatest impacts to marine wildlife.footnote 11 Plastic bags are light-weight and usually have looped handles, meaning wildlife can become entangled in their handles. Plastic bags and utensils have been rated the greatest risk in terms of ingesting plastic items for seabirds, turtles and marine mammals.footnote 11 Ring carriers can also pose a threat of entanglement as they also have a looped structure. Many of the consumer items frequently picked up in litter clean-ups are also considered to be value recovery problematic as they are made of problematic plastics that have very low recycling rates.
Government action with respect to single-use plastic manufactured items
In June 2019, the Prime Minister announced a commitment for the Government of Canada to take steps to reduce plastic waste and plastic pollution, including working with provinces and territories to introduce standards and targets that would make companies that manufacture plastic products or that sell items with plastic packaging responsible for their plastic waste. In the same announcement, the Prime Minister committed the Government of Canada to banning harmful SUPs as early as 2021, where warranted and supported by scientific evidence, and reaffirmed this commitment in the Mandate Letter to the Minister of the Environment in December 2019 and in the Speech from the Throne in September 2020.
In order to determine which SUPs are considered harmful and warrant prohibition in Canada, the Department developed a management framework for categorizing SUPs (the Framework), as presented in the Discussion Paper. The Framework categorized a wide selection of SUPs commonly collected as litter or otherwise flagged by other jurisdictions (e.g. different types of bags, different types of packaging, cigarette filters, coffee pods) as either environmentally problematic, value-recovery problematic, or both. As outlined in the Discussion Paper, in order for a SUP to be considered harmful such that a ban would be warranted and supported by science, the SUP in question must meet the environmentally problematic and value recovery problematic criteria using scientific evidence to assess environmental prevalence and value recovery challenges, with consideration for exemptions for certain essential functions. After evaluating the wide selection of SUPs in this way, the Framework identified six harmful SUPs, or categories of SUPs identified by utility, warranted for prohibition or restriction in Canada.
- Checkout bags. Also known as shopping bags, grocery bags, or carryout bags. These items are typically given to customers at the retail point of sale to carry purchased goods from a business. They are typically (but not exclusively) made from high- or low-density polyethylene film and may or may not have handles. SUP checkout bags have low recycling rates (estimated at less than 15%) despite being accepted in several recycling programs across Canada, and are known to hamper recycling systems by becoming caught up in sorting and processing machinery. They are some of the most common forms of plastic litter in the natural environment (e.g. 31 164 units were collected from Canadian shorelines in 2019 through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup). Checkout bags have been identified by experts as posing a threat of entanglement, ingestion and habitat disruption among marine wildlife;
- Cutlery (knives, forks, spoons, sporks and chopsticks). These items are typically given to customers by restaurants and other food vendors to eat quick-service or takeout food, though they can also be purchased in bulk at many retail businesses such as grocery or dollar stores. They are typically (but not exclusively) made from polypropylene or polystyrene. SUP cutlery have low recycling rates (estimated at close to 0%) and are typically not accepted in provincial or municipal recycling systems. They are common forms of plastic litter (e.g. 10 772 units were collected from Canadian shorelines in 2019 through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup). Cutlery litter has been ranked as high by experts in terms of the threat posed to wildlife;
- Foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics. This category includes clamshell containers, lidded containers, cartons, cups, plates and bowls used for serving or transporting prepared food or beverages (i.e. that is ready to be consumed without any further preparation, such as cooking, boiling or heating). This category of SUPs only includes those made from extruded or expanded polystyrene foam, polyvinyl chloride, oxo-degradable plastics, or that contain the additive “carbon black.” When littered in the environment, foodservice ware may be placed in a range of categories, depending on the kind of plastic used (e.g. expected to form part of the total units collected under the categories of foam [24 213 units], food wrappers/containers [74 224 units], or tiny pieces of plastic or foam [595 227 units] in the 2019 Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup). Foodservice ware in the form of expanded polystyrene containers, takeout containers, cups and plates and plastic food lids have all been ranked as high by experts in terms of the threat posed to wildlife;
- Ring carriers (typically known as six-pack rings). Ring carriers are deformable bands that are placed on beverage containers (e.g. cans, bottles) to package them for transport. They can be cut to hold different multiples of containers (e.g. two-packs, eight-packs). They are typically made from low-density polyethylene. Ring carriers are not typically recycled in Canada and are not accepted by provincial or municipal recycling systems. Ring carriers are a common form of plastic litter (e.g. 1 627 units collected from Canadian shorelines in 2019 through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup) and are recognized as posing a threat of entanglement for wildlife such as seabirds;
- Stir sticks (also known as stirrers or beverage stirrers). Stir sticks are typically made from polypropylene or polystyrene. They can be in the shape of a stick, rod, or tube, and can also have decorative elements (e.g. for cocktail stir sticks or muddlers) or have attachments to close coffee cup lids. They have very low or no recycling rates and are not typically accepted in provincial or municipal recycling systems. Stir sticks are found as litter in the environment. They are typically categorized alongside straws (e.g. stir sticks would form part of the 26 157 units collected in 2019 through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup referenced below for straws). Stir sticks pose the same threats to wildlife as straws; and
- Straws. Straws are typically given to customers at restaurants, coffee shops and other food vendors along with purchased drinks. They are typically (but not exclusively) made from polypropylene and have varying physical dimensions. They may also be sold in packages of multiple straws at retail locations such as grocery stores and dollar stores, or may be packaged with another product (e.g. a juice box). Plastic straws are prevalent in litter data (e.g. 26 157 units of straws and stir sticks collected in Canada in 2019 through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup). They have low or nil recycling rates due to their size and shape and are not typically accepted in provincial or municipal recycling systems. Straws are also ranked high by experts in terms of the threat posed to wildlife in the environment.
Several municipal and provincial jurisdictions have already implemented bans on a selection of these six categories of SUPs. For example, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island each implemented bans on SUP checkout bags in 2019 or 2020, which prohibit businesses from offering SUP checkout bags. The bans permit businesses to offer paper and reusable checkout bags, but only Prince Edward Island mandates minimum fees for offering substitute checkout bags. All three of these bans also prohibit “compostable” and oxo-degradable SUP checkout bags and include various exemptions. As of August 2021, no other SUP bans have been enacted at the provincial or territorial level, though British Columbia published a framework to facilitate municipal bans,footnote 12 and a handful of municipal governments have implemented SUP bans on a localized level. For instance, Montréal, Sherbrooke, and several smaller municipalities across Canada have implemented bans on SUP checkout bags, and, while Vancouver has yet to implement a proposed prohibition on SUP checkout bags, a ban on SUP straws, SUP cutlery, and certain SUP foodservice ware came into effect in 2020. Yukon’s May 2021 Speech from the Throne stated that they intend to ban SUPs, but no specifics were provided.
Select Canadian market characteristics
According to the Deloitte Study, Canadian plastic product manufacturing (including SUPs and durable goods) accounted for $25 billion in sales in 2017. Information from Statistics Canada indicates that, in 2017, domestic plastics manufacturers met approximately 50% of domestic demand, while imports met the remaining 50%.footnote 13
Distribution among the six categories of SUPs
As shown in Table 1, the six categories of SUPs accounted for just over $750 million in sales in 2019, or nearly 30 billion units sold. Per capita per day, these values translate to approximately $0.06 in sales and 2.2 units sold. Assuming that each unit sold fulfilled its single use in short order following its sale, the mass of each unit sold promptly became plastic waste. The six categories of SUPs generated approximately 160 000 tonnes of plastic waste in 2019, representing roughly 5% of the total plastic waste generated in Canada in 2019.footnote 14
|Category of SUP table b1 note b||Sales volume (2019, in millions of units)||Average annual growth (2015 to 2019, by volume)||Unit price (2019)||Value (2019, in millions)||Unit weight (grams)||Tonnage (2019)|
|SUP checkout bags||15 593||2.5%||$0.03||$410||8||124 746|
|SUP cutlery||4 511||2.0%||$0.04||$162||2.4||10 867|
|SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics||805||3.2%||$0.09||$69||20.8||16 743|
|SUP ring carriers||183||1.9%||$0.03||$6||3.5||648|
|SUP stir sticks||2 950||3.1%||$0.01||$29||0.6||1 770|
|SUP straws||5 846||2.7%||$0.01||$77||0.4||2 339|
|Total (or weighted average)||29 888||2.5%||$0.03||$753||5.3||157 113|
Table b1 note(s)
Significant progress has been made in recent years by governments and industry globally to phase out several commonly identified SUPs, especially SUP checkout bags, as exemplified by the Global Commitment 2020 Progress Report published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In Canada, some major companies have announced or have already implemented actions to reduce certain SUPs. For example, certain companies in the quick-service restaurant industry, including A&Wfootnote 15 and Tim Hortons,footnote 16 have already eliminated SUP straws and other SUPs in their Canadian establishments. In 2018, Recipe Unlimited, which operates 19 national restaurant chains such as Swiss Chalet and Harvey’s, committed to eliminating all SUP straws from their restaurants.footnote 17 In the retail space, Canadian grocery chain Sobeys eliminated SUP checkout bags from their stores as of January 2020.footnote 18 Despite these voluntary actions from some Canadian companies to reduce plastic waste in their establishments, consumption of the six categories of SUPs nationally is still projected to grow at a positive rate for the next decade and beyond in the absence of interventions.
Substitutes to the six categories of SUPs
Substitutes to the six categories of SUPs exist, and are readily available within established markets in Canada. Many of these substitutes are single-use manufactured items that are not made from plastics (single-use non-plastic manufactured items, or SUNPs). Most SUNPs are made from paper or wood, and as such, are typically heavier and costlier than their SUP counterparts. Regardless, SUNPs have become more prevalent in the market over time, as consumer preference for a substitute to SUPs is growing as a result of increased awareness of the impacts of plastic waste and plastic pollution. In the case of SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics and SUP ring carriers, substitutes exist that are also plastic manufactured items, but which do not pose the same environmental or value-recovery challenges. The estimated year-over-year market growth for most substitutes to the six categories of SUPs is higher than that of their SUP counterparts. As shown in Table 2, the average annual growth rate from 2015 to 2019 across a selection of readily available single-use substitutes to the six categories of SUPs was 4.7%.
|With respect to which category of SUP||Readily available single-use substitute material||Sales volume (2019, in millions of units)||Average annual growth (2015 to 2019, by volume)||Unit price (2019)|| Value
(2019, in millions)
|Unit weight (grams)||Tonnage (2019)|
|SUP checkout bags||paper||3 709||4.8%||$0.08||$279||52.6||214 562|
|SUP cutlery||wood||1 091||2.8%||$0.09||$94||1.5||1 643|
|SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics||paper and moulded fibre||486||2.0%||$0.15||$74||38.5||18 744|
|SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics||aluminum||238||0.3%||$0.13||$32||9.5||2 262|
|SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics||recyclable plastics||148||-2.7%||$0.12||$17||24||3 541|
|SUP ring carriers||paper and moulded fibre||127||2.7%||$0.29||$37||27.6||3 502|
|SUP ring carriers||recyclable plastics||53||1.6%||$0.14||$7||19.5||1 034|
|SUP ring carriers||plastic film table b2 note b||-||-||$0.10||-||18||-|
|SUP stir sticks||wood||1 022||3.8%||$0.01||$13||1.9||1 941|
|Total (or weighted average)||7 618||4.7%||$0.08||$573||30.0||247 824|
Table b2 note(s)
Other substitutes to the six categories of SUPs are reusable manufactured items, made from a variety of materials including durable plastics, metals, woods, glass, silicone, and fabrics. Unlike single-use items, reusable items are specifically designed to remain durable through repeated uses and machine washings. Reusable items are heavier and costlier than their SUP or SUNP counterparts, given their durability and associated quantity of raw material needed for their production. However, since a reusable item can be used multiple times, it essentially replaces a stream of single-use items over its useful lifetime. Therefore, the cost of a reusable item will eventually “meet or beat” the total cost of the stream of single-use items it diverted over time. How long it takes to break even depends on the price of the reusable item, the price of the single-use items it diverted, and the rate of reuse.
With respect to the six categories of SUPs, the most commonly used reusable substitute is reusable checkout bags. Many Canadians have shifted their consumer behaviour over time to normalize bringing reusable checkout bags with them when frequenting a variety of retail settings, especially grocery stores, and several of these retail settings themselves sell reusable checkout bags at their checkout counters. Substituting reusable checkout bags for SUP checkout bags is more common in Canada than using substitutes for the five other categories of SUPs. For example, it is not common for consumers to bring their own reusable foodservice ware and reusable cutlery to collect and consume take-out food. Accordingly, reusable items are not seen to play a significant role in diverting the consumption of five of the six categories of SUPs in the short term, relative to the role that SUNP and other single-use substitute items play in that regard. However, education campaigns being conducted by governments and civil society groups are increasing awareness of waste and pollution caused by the consumption of single-use items. Over time, increasing the popularity of low-waste consumer behaviours may lead to more widespread preference for reusable products.
Public opinion research and considerations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic
Survey results suggest that a strong majority of Canadians are concerned about plastic pollution and that they are supportive of further action by governments. In a survey conducted by Abacus Data in 2018, 88% of respondents indicated concern about plastic pollution in oceans and waterways, including 36% who say it is one of the most important environmental issues today.footnote 19 A major polling effort conducted by Ipsos in 2019 surveyed nearly 20 000 adults from 28 countries, showing widespread global support for action on plastics.footnote 20 Across all surveyed countries, 71% of respondents agreed with the statement that single-use plastics should be banned as soon as possible (by country, 72% of Canadian respondents and 57% of American respondents agreed with the statement).
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, public opinion on SUPs bans and consumption patterns towards SUPs is varied. Two surveys conducted by Dalhousie University, one pre-pandemic and another during, depict that support for a ban of all SUP food packaging fell from 72% of respondents in 2019 to 58% of respondents in 2020.footnote 21 Nearly 52% of respondents in 2020 agreed that any new regulations regarding SUP packaging should wait until after the COVID-19 pandemic is fully resolved. The surveys also suggest that consumption habits may have been impacted, as 29% of respondents indicated that they are buying more plastic-packaged goods during the pandemic relative to before the pandemic. Conversely, over 90% of Canadians polled in a recent 2021 survey are concerned about the impact plastic pollution has on our oceans and wildlife and polling by Abacus Data in June 2020 reveals that 86% of Canadians support a ban on some SUPs which is up from 81% in 2019. In an early 2021 survey by Abacus Data commissioned by Oceana Canada, two-thirds of Canadians polled indicated support for extending the proposed prohibitions to cover more than just the six categories of SUPs identified by the Framework, such as cigarette filters, polystyrene and hot and cold drink cups.footnote 22
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the generation of plastic waste in certain fields. Plastics provide protection against the proliferation and spread of bacteria and viruses as the material itself is sanitary and easy to clean. Accordingly, equipment and instruments made of plastics, including SUPs, are often used within the medical field. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumption of SUPs within the medical field (among others) has greatly increased, as workers in these settings protect themselves and others through the use of vast amounts of SUP personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, face shields, gloves, and gowns, the majority of which are made from petroleum-based, non-biodegradable polymers. In the face of COVID-19, single-use PPE is also attractive for use among the general public due to its sanitary nature.
The Government of Canada is working with provinces to reduce litter and waste from single-use PPE, as usage across all sectors and the general public is expected to continue to increase. The Government of Canada is also investing in Canadian research and technology innovators to develop and commercialize reusable and compostable PPE as well as options for recycling single-use varieties, when possible. While there are some environmental and value-recovery challenges associated with single-use PPE, the Framework in the Discussion Paper does not characterize single-use PPE as “harmful,” given that it serves a vital function that is necessary to keep Canadians safe.
The objective of the proposed Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations (the proposed Regulations) is to prevent plastic pollution by eliminating or restricting the manufacture, import, and sale of six categories of SUPs that pose a threat to the environment.
The proposed Regulations would eliminate or restrict six categories of SUPs in Canada. The proposed Regulations would be made pursuant to section 93 of CEPA, following the addition of “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 to CEPA.
The proposed Regulations would apply to the following categories of plastic items:
- SUP checkout bags, which are plastic manufactured items formed in the shape of a bag that are designed to carry purchased goods from a business, typically given to a customer at the retail point of sale;
- SUP cutlery, which encompasses plastic manufactured items formed in the shape of a knife, fork, spoon, spork, or chopstick;
- SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, which encompasses plastic manufactured items
- formed in the shape of a clamshell container, lidded container, box, cup, plate, or bowl,
- designed for serving or transporting food or beverage that is ready to be consumed without any further preparation, and
- made from or containing the following materials:
- polystyrene foam, including expanded and extruded polystyrene,
- polyvinyl chloride,
- the additive “carbon black,” which is an additive used as a black colour pigment for plastic manufactured items that is produced through the partial or incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons, or
- oxo-degradable plastics, which are plastic materials that include additives which, through oxidation, lead to the fragmentation of the plastic material into micro-fragments or to chemical decomposition;
- SUP ring carriers, which are plastic manufactured items formed in the shape of deformable container-surrounding bands, and that are designed to be applied to beverage containers and selectively severed to produce packages of two or more beverage containers;
- SUP stir sticks, which are plastic manufactured items designed to stir or mix drinks, or to stop a drink from spilling out of a lid; and
- SUP straws, which are plastic manufactured items formed in the shape of a drinking straw, including SUP flexible straws that have a corrugated section that allows the straw to bend and maintain its position at various angles.
The prohibitions in the proposed Regulations would include performance criteria for checkout bags, cutlery, and straws. Plastic checkout bags, plastic cutlery, and plastic straws are only considered single use if they meet the criteria in Table 3. There are no similar criteria for stir sticks, ring carriers, or foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, as all products meeting the definition in the proposed Regulations are expected to be single use.
|Cutlery or straw||
Tests to determine whether a product meets the criteria for single-use must be conducted by a laboratory accredited under ISO/IEC 17025 entitled General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, by an accrediting body that is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Mutual Recognition Arrangement. Alternatively, certification can be provided by a lab accredited under the Quebec Environmental Quality Act.
Prohibitions and exceptions
Prohibitions and exceptions for single-use plastic items except plastic straws
The proposed Regulations would prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of the categories of SUPs described in the previous subsection (with the exception of straws, described in the subsection below). Manufacture, import, and sale for the purposes of export would not be subject to the prohibition.
Prohibitions and exceptions for plastic straws
The proposed Regulations would prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of SUP straws, including straws packaged with other items such as drink boxes, as well as SUP flexible straws in any commercial, industrial, or institutional setting, except for the following activities:
- the manufacture and import of flexible plastic straws that are sold or offered for sale in packages of multiple straws, where a “flexible” plastic straw has a corrugated section that allows the straw to bend and maintain its position at various angles;
- the manufacture and import of any kind of plastic straw intended for export;
- the sale of flexible plastic straws to hospitals, medical facilities, long-term care facilities, and other care institutions, including the offering of SUP flexible straws to patients or residents of any of these institutions; and
- the sale of packages of 20 or more flexible plastic straws in retail stores, on the condition that the straws are not kept on public display (though businesses may advertise that straws are available for purchase) and are provided only if requested by the customer (who can be any individual).
Any person that manufactures or imports any of the six categories of SUPs for export must keep records providing written evidence that the SUP has been or will be exported. Records and supporting documents must be kept for at least five years after they are made.
Coming into force
The proposed Regulations would come into force one year after their registration, with the exception of prohibitions on sale for checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware made from problematic plastics, ring carriers, and stir sticks, which would come into force two years after registration.
Consequential amendments to other regulations under CEPA
Consequential amendments are needed to the Regulations Designating Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999) [the Designation Regulations], which designate various provisions made pursuant to CEPA as being subject to the fine regime under the Environmental Enforcement Act. Specifically, any regulatory provisions listed in the Schedule to the Designation Regulations are subject to a minimum fine and higher maximum fines, should there be a successful prosecution of an offence involving harm or risk of harm to the environment, or obstruction of authority.footnote 23 Amendments are needed to include the proposed Regulations in the Schedule to the Designation Regulations.
On October 7, 2020, the Department published the Discussion Paper on the CEPA Registryfootnote 24 outlining its proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution. The Discussion Paper was open to a 60-day public comment period from October 7 to December 9. During that period, the Department received written submissions representing the views of 245 stakeholder groups (151 industry members, 39 provincial, territorial, or municipal governments, 2 Indigenous groups, 32 NGOs, and 21 others). In addition, the Department received over 24 000 emails from individual Canadians and an online petition started by a civil society group that received over 100 000 signatures.
The Department also held five webinars and four online stakeholder discussion sessions between October 30 and November 27, 2020. Over 6 000 stakeholders were notified in advance of the webinars, which were also open to the public, with a total participation of 1 474 individuals. For the stakeholder discussion sessions, 100 to 150 stakeholders were invited to each session, with 35 to 50 participants attending each session. Three webinars and three stakeholder discussion sessions addressed the proposed prohibitions on certain SUPs. Topics for discussion included definitions, prohibitions, the potential need for exemptions, and the availability of substitute products. A description of each webinar and stakeholder discussion session, including topics discussed, stakeholder participation, and input received, is available in the What we heard report.
|Row Labels||Oppose||Partially oppose table b4 note a||Partially support table b4 note b||Support|
|Miscellaneous table b4 note c||2||0||2||6|
|Provinces and territories||1||0||1||3|
Table b4 note(s)
Commenters included industry stakeholders, provincial, territorial, or municipal governments, Indigenous groups, NGOs, and others. Comments covered a range of topics, but generally related to one of seven themes, summarized in the subsections below. Civil society organizations and local governments agreed about the issues plastic pollution is causing for Canadians. Many of these organizations were supportive of a ban on SUPs, though many also urged the Government of Canada to pursue more ambitious measures (e.g. ban additional SUPs). Provincial and territorial governments were mostly supportive of the ban.
The Discussion Paper included a question about a possible exemption for non-conventional (e.g. oxo-degradable, compostable) plastics.footnote 25 A breakdown of answers by commenter group is below.
|Stakeholder type||Oppose||Partial support||Support||Total|
|Miscellaneous table c1 note a||1||0||2||3|
|Provinces and territories||1||1||0||2|
Table c1 note(s)
Among industry groups that responded to the question, most supported or partially supported an exemption, citing opportunities for innovation and growth, while continuing to provide options to consumers. In contrast, responses from non-industry stakeholders mostly opposed an exemption, with a minority expressing partial support or support. Commenters giving partial support were often conditional on further action being taken by the Government of Canada, such as establishing standards or consistent definitions for compostable, biodegradable, and bio-based plastics. Opposition to the exemption was mostly linked with concerns about non-conventional plastics contaminating the recycling stream or not composting in the short time frames associated with municipal compost facilities. Local governments, which are typically the operators of compost and recycling facilities, were generally opposed to exemptions on this basis, providing concerns about contamination of compost and recycling streams leading to a lower quality product.
The Department recognizes the potential advantages of using single-use items made from non-conventional plastics in place of counterpart items made from conventional plastics. Some of these benefits include reducing fossil fuel consumption when plant-based materials replace carbon-intensive plastic source materials, and increasing food waste diversion in situations where contamination of plastics may present an obstacle to recycling. The Department also recognizes these benefits are complicated by several issues related to compostable plastics. Some compostable plastics are not accepted in certain compost facilities, leading to their diversion to landfills. In addition, while compostable plastics look very similar to the conventional plastics they replace, many are not designed to be recyclable. This mixing of compostable and conventional plastics can therefore contaminate the recycling stream and reduce recycling recovery rates. Accordingly, the proposed Regulations would treat single-use items made from non-conventional plastics in the same manner as their conventional plastics counterparts. The Department is working with partners and stakeholders, including provinces and territories, to develop the knowledge base about non-conventional plastics, which will inform future actions to promote innovation, clean growth and circularity in this sector.
Some Canadians rely heavily on SUP flexible straws in their day-to-day life, including people with disabilities and those recovering from medical procedures. Many stakeholders requested the Department consider exemptions to any proposed prohibitions on SUP flexible straws to address accessibility concerns. The Department is committed to ensuring that SUP flexible straws remain an option for Canadians who need them. The proposed Regulations would allow Canadians with disabilities to continue to purchase SUP flexible straws for their own use, as well as to access them in hospitals and other medical settings. These accommodations seek to balance the need to ensure accessibility options in Canada while protecting the environment from plastic pollution.
Canada’s international trade commitments
Some stakeholders suggested that banning SUPs may be contrary to the requirements or the spirit of Canada’s international trade commitments. The Government of Canada is aware of its international trade commitments and will continue to respect them. The Department has investigated whether the proposed Regulations could run contrary to Canada’s international trade commitments, and has concluded that they would not. Where required by international agreements, Canada will notify the appropriate parties, such as the World Trade Organization, about the proposed Regulations. All businesses operating in Canada or exporting to Canada would be subject to the proposed prohibitions on certain single-use plastics, removing any unfair advantages within the domestic market. However, the Department is aware of the implications of prohibitions on domestic manufacturers that are competing in the global market, where prohibitions may not be present. Therefore, manufacture of the six categories of SUPs for the purpose of export, as well as import for the purpose of re-export, will continue to be permitted under the proposed Regulations.
Unintended social, economic and environmental effects of substitute products
Some stakeholders expressed concern that wide-ranging bans imposed by government often have unintended consequences, including potential negative social, economic, and environmental effects.
Regarding potential environmental effects, some stakeholders expressed concern that some substitutes to the six categories of SUPs could result in worse environmental impacts. Generally, these concerns included increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to transportation of heavier materials (e.g. the mass of single-use paper checkout bags relative to SUP checkout bags) or greater emissions created during the manufacturing process. The Department has carefully analyzed the extent to which substitutes to the six categories of SUPs may lead to harmful environmental impacts. While the proposed Regulations would reduce plastic waste and plastic pollution, some upstream activities such as manufacturing and transportation may have some minor negative environmental impacts. Many of these potential upstream effects can be mitigated through the increased consumption of reusable products, as well as existing management measures that have been put in place by the federal government and other jurisdictions, such as putting a price on carbon pollution, various emissions and effluent regulations for pulp and paper mills and vehicle emissions standards. Greater detail on this subject is available in the “Strategic environmental assessment” section.
Regarding potential social and economic effects, stakeholders noted that some people rely on SUPs to perform crucial functions (e.g. people with disabilities who rely on SUP flexible straws) or because of their relatively low costs. The Department developed the proposed Regulations by taking into account best practices and lessons learned in other jurisdictions and thorough market research to minimize the risk of unintended consequences. In addition, the Department conducted a gender-based analysis plus (GBA+), which analyzed potential impacts of the proposed Regulations on certain demographic groups, including people with disabilities, women, and single parents. The results of this analysis have been incorporated into the regulatory design and implementation strategy (e.g. exemptions for SUP flexible straws), and the Department will work with partners and stakeholders in the implementation of the proposed Regulations to minimize the risk of unintended consequences.
Stakeholders who may have information that could further minimize the risk of environmental, social, or economic unintended consequences are encouraged to contact the Department during the 70-day public comment period.
Economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Many stakeholders are concerned that the timing for a ban on certain SUPs is poor, as a result of ongoing economic hardship and stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While SUP manufacturers and retailers are seeing an increase in sales as a result of COVID-19, these sales are expected to “reset” to approximately 2019 levels once the pandemic has passed.footnote 26 Meanwhile, most other businesses have seen reduced revenues due to forced closures and reduced disposable incomes of consumers. At the same time, almost all businesses are facing increased costs as a result of public health measures (e.g. PPE, hand sanitizer, Plexiglas shields). Additional hardship that may be experienced to source substitutes to the six categories of SUPs comes at a time when many businesses, especially small-to-medium enterprises, may not be able to endure further increases to their cost of business.
The Government of Canada is sensitive to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the business community and is committed to developing environmental measures in a responsible way and in a manner that also supports economic recovery and the protection of human health. The proposed Regulations take the impacts of the pandemic and other factors, such as accessibility needs, into account. For example, a transition period for the ban of the six categories of SUPs is being proposed to allow businesses to phase out these SUPs with minimal disruption to their operations. Finally, businesses would continue to be allowed to manufacture the six categories of SUPs for the purpose of export.
Ban is not comprehensive enough
Many stakeholders identified other problematic plastics that are of concern to the environment. These stakeholders believe the ban needs to be expanded to include more items.
The Discussion Paper presents the assessment of numerous SUPs to determine if they are environmentally or value-recovery problematic. Items that were selected for the ban have readily available substitutes for consumers to use. At this time, six items were identified as candidates for a potential ban or restriction based on meeting these criteria. Many stakeholders questioned why SUP water bottles were not included in the ban. Water bottles are typically made from polyethylene terephthalate, which is a highly recyclable plastic resin, and are subject to programs such as bottle deposit schemes in many jurisdictions. As a result, they do not meet the criteria for prohibition or restriction under the Framework. Nonetheless, the Department is aware of litter data showing large numbers of SUP bottles in the environment, and will review performance data for existing measures and work with partners and stakeholders to identify areas where further action is needed. More broadly, the Department will continue to monitor the latest research and data relating to plastic pollution in our environment, and will consult with Canadians if additional items are identified to be of concern.
Creation of national standards
Stakeholders requested that the Government of Canada address inconsistencies found in product labelling and advertising when using terms like “recyclable,” “compostable,” and “biodegradable.” Several stakeholders suggested that the creation of national standards for these terms would help consumers better understand the impacts of the products they purchase. These standards might also help Canadians dispose of plastic waste into the proper waste-management stream, thereby reducing contamination issues with recycling and composting facilities.
The creation of national standards are out of scope for the current proposal. While there is currently no regulatory framework in Canada that defines these materials and their management, bio-based plastics standards, including standards for compostable plastic products, will be addressed as part of the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste.
Modern treaty obligations and Indigenous engagement and consultation
The assessment of modern treaty implications conducted on the proposed Regulations in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Federal Approach to Modern Treaty Implementation concluded that the proposal would introduce new regulatory requirements on lands covered by modern treaties. However, the proposed regulation is not expected to affect any rights protected under the Constitution Act, 1982 nor those set out in modern treaties.
A survey conducted by the Department of the laws and regulations enacted by Indigenous governments pursuant to modern treaties found that some Indigenous laws and regulations are in place to help manage the impacts of pollution from SUPs. For example
- the Makkovik Inuit Community Government, an Inuit community constituted under the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, has enacted a ban on SUP checkout bags; and
- the Tsawwassen First Nation has enacted the Good Neighbour Regulation that prohibits the littering of plastics, Styrofoam and bags in public places.
Similar to other jurisdictions in Canada that have enacted prohibitions on SUPs or on littering, these measures would be enhanced by federal action to remove certain SUPs from the national market. By doing so, the burden on communities to develop, implement, and enforce local measures will be significantly reduced. Indigenous communities that have enacted measures to address plastic pollution will be informed of the proposed Regulations and invited to provide input.
Through consultations on the Discussion Paper, the Department received written input from two Indigenous organizations: one situated in Northern Quebec, and one situated in Atlantic Canada. These commenters expressed concern with increased levels of plastic pollution in Indigenous communities, explained some of the challenges of managing plastic waste in rural and remote areas, and encouraged the Government of Canada to work closely with communities as it develops measures.
In the spirit of early engagement, the Department held a virtual “face-to-face” meeting with interested Indigenous communities and organizations on January 8, 2021, to discuss the proposed risk management approach presented in the Discussion Paper, answer questions, and solicit feedback. Seven representatives of Indigenous organizations attended the meeting. Input received from this session included the following:
- the Government of Canada should take into consideration the needs of Indigenous communities that may rely on SUPs, such as water bottles and cutlery, during boil-water advisories;
- bans on SUP checkout bags implemented by Indigenous communities have been successful, without significant drawbacks;
- waste management policies, such as extended producer responsibility, are difficult to implement in rural and remote areas, due to the costs of transporting waste; as a result, waste is typically landfilled or burned; and
- further studies should be undertaken to understand the challenges and opportunities for Indigenous communities and businesses to reduce plastic waste and prevent plastic pollution.
In response to input from Indigenous peoples, the Department
- consulted officials at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, who stated that boil-water advisories should not prevent the washing of reusable cutlery; and
- will continue to seek input from Indigenous peoples on the proposed Regulations. In particular, Indigenous communities that have prohibited or restricted SUPs, or that have put in place other measures to prevent plastic pollution, will be contacted and invited to provide input.
The prepublication comment period is also an opportunity for Indigenous peoples to provide feedback on the proposed Regulations.
The Prime Minister’s announcement and subsequent Mandate Letter to the Minister of the Environment in 2019, followed by the 2020 Speech from the Throne, set a commitment for the Government of Canada to ban harmful SUPs, where supported and warranted by science. This commitment was reiterated in October 2020 with the publication of the Discussion paper, which described the Government of Canada’s management framework for SUPs. This framework supports the above-mentioned commitment, as well as the Government of Canada’s comprehensive plan to achieve zero plastic waste. It established a three-step process for
- determining the need for particular SUPs to be managed;
- determining the management objective that should be assigned to particular SUPs; and
- choosing the most appropriate instrument to achieve management objectives.
The first step in the framework characterized SUP items as either environmentally problematic, value-recovery problematic, or both, and identified considerations for possible exemptions from management actions. Criteria for categorizing SUP items are described in the table below. Considerations for exemptions from risk management actions included whether a SUP item performs an essential function (e.g. related to accessibility, health and safety, or security) and whether a viable substitute exists that can serve the same function as the SUP item.
|Categories of single-use plastics||Criteria|
The second step in the framework sets three management objectives based on the categorization of SUPs:
- eliminate or significantly reduce SUPs entering Canada’s environment;
- reduce the environmental impact of plastic products overall; and
- conserve material resources by increasing the value recovery of plastics.
The third step of the framework was to select policy instruments informed by the Department’s Instrument Choice Framework for Risk Management under CEPA. Under this framework, instruments are chosen based on several criteria, including the following:
- environmental effectiveness and achievement of the management objective;
- maximization of benefits and minimization of costs;
- distributional impacts on groups and segments of society;
- stakeholder acceptability and compatibility with other programs in Canadian jurisdictions; and
- meeting international obligations, including international protocols, agreements, and trade obligations.
Potential instruments identified under the framework include bans and restrictions on use, incentives to encourage the use of reusable products or systems, material specifications (e.g. recyclability rules or guidelines), and extended producer responsibility or other collection and recycling requirements.
The Department assessed fourteen categories of SUPs according to the criteria in the management framework described in the Discussion Paper. A total of six categories of SUPs met the criteria outlined in the first step of the framework for being both environmentally and value-recovery problematic, and therefore were identified as candidates for a ban or restrictions on their use. The other eight categories of SUPs that did not meet all the criteria are potential candidates for management using other instruments. For example, the Department identified material specifications as the most appropriate instrument for multi-material packaging. The Department will continue to consult and work with jurisdictions, stakeholders and the public to help determine how these other SUPs can be better managed to reduce plastic pollution and improve value recovery.
Under the framework, regulatory actions banning or restricting SUPs that are both environmentally and value-recovery problematic was identified as the only viable option to eliminate, or significantly reduce these SUPs entering Canada’s environment. The Department identified the development of regulations under section 93 of CEPA, following the addition of plastic manufactured items to Schedule 1 to the Act, as the preferred risk-management approach, given that CEPA is one of the Government of Canada’s key pieces of legislation to prevent pollution that can cause environmental harm. The Act also provides a broad suite of tools that allow for flexibility to tailor measures to the specific issues requiring action.
Benefits and costs
In order to analyze the incremental impacts of the proposed Regulations, the Department developed an analytical framework to characterize the costs and benefits (Figure 2). Unless otherwise stated, all costs and benefits in the following subsections are presented in 2020 Canadian dollars, present value to base year 2021 using a 3% discount rate. The social discount rate of 3% is applied in the central analysis since the proposed Regulations would primarily affect private consumption of goods and services. Total monetized benefits and costs discounted at 7%, as well as non-discounted totals, are presented in the “Sensitivity analysis” subsection of the “Benefits and costs” section.
|Policy design and activities||Costs||Benefits|
|Prohibition on six categories of SUPs, resulting in
|Record keeping||Administrative costs||N/A|
|Compliance promotion||Government costs||N/A|
|Enforcement activities||Government costs||N/A|
The policy design and activities depicted in the analytical framework correspond to those presented in the “Description” section. Before any costs or benefits can be estimated, the impact of the proposed Regulations on plastic waste and plastic pollution must first be quantified.
Quantifying the decrease in plastic waste (and associated increase in waste from substitutes)
Since single-use manufactured items are designed to become waste immediately after their single-use function has been fulfilled, the analysis assumes that “units sold” is equivalent to “waste generated.” In order to quantify the change in waste associated with the proposed Regulations, the sales volumes over time for the six categories of SUPs and their main substitutes can be estimated, first in absence of the Regulations (baseline scenario), and then, given the Regulations (policy scenario). A quantification framework for this estimation is presented in Figure 3, where the area of each rectangle represents the sales volume of a given SUP and its main substitutes (note: areas are not to scale, diagram is illustrative only).
Figure 3. Quantification framework for units sold / waste generated in Canada
Figure 3. Quantification framework for units sold / waste generated in Canada - Text version
In the cost-benefit analysis, each unit sold of the six categories of SUPs in the baseline scenario is reallocated into one of three following pathways in the policy scenario: exemptions, behaviour change, or prohibitions. The baseline quantity in the Canadian marketplace of the six categories of SUPs exempted would remain constant in the policy scenario, while the baseline quantity of the six categories of SUPs prohibited would be replaced by readily available substitutes in the policy scenario. A portion of the baseline quantity of the six categories of SUPs in the marketplace would be subject to behaviour change that reduces demand for single-use items altogether. Accordingly, the overall quantity of single-use items sold in the policy scenario would be somewhat less than that in the baseline scenario.
The quantifications following the framework in Figure 3 are presented in the subsections below.
The Department acquired off-the-shelf market data on checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware, ring carriers, stir sticks and straws from international data analytics firms, and cross-referenced this data against other research (e.g. the Statistics Canada Supply and Use Tables, proprietary information from industry, publicly available literature, and manufacturer, distributor, or wholesaler websites) to create a historical database spanning from 2015 to 2019. The database includes estimates for sales volume, average price per unit (as paid by the final retailer), and the average mass per unit across the six categories of SUPs and their main substitutes. Sales volume is multiplied by average price per unit to estimate market value and by average mass per unit to estimate tonnage. These estimates for 2019 are presented in Table 1 and Table 2 in the “Background” section.
In order to construct a projected baseline scenario, the average annual growth in sales volumes over the historical period (2015 to 2019) for the six categories of SUPs and their main substitutes are first calculated and then applied from 2024 onward. The analysis assumes no sales growth for the six categories of SUPs and their main substitutes between 2019 and 2023 to account for the high level of uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on these markets. In the midst of public health measures such as stay-at-home orders, temporary business closures and teleworking, the use patterns of Canadians with respect to the six categories of SUPs have changed. For instance, greater uptake in take-out meals may contribute to higher usage of foodservice ware and cutlery, while fewer social outings in restaurants and bars may contribute to lower usage of straws and stir sticks. There is great uncertainty as to what the lasting market impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the six categories of SUPs may be. Equating projected sales volumes in 2023 with those observed in 2019 assumes that the markets for these goods will not shift permanently onto a different course, but rather, that they will “reset” back to their former usage rates and observed growth patterns once public health restrictions ease.
The projected baseline also takes into account Canadian jurisdictions that have implemented localized bans on any of the six categories of SUPs that have come into force after 2019 and prior to June 2021 (e.g. Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Vancouver, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Sherbrooke), by adjusting the projected baseline sales volumes downward proportionate to the percentage of the population living in areas covered by these bans. This is to ensure that the costs and benefits of measures undertaken by other jurisdictions are not attributed to the proposed Regulations. The projected baseline does not take into account any announcements from governments or industry regarding future intent to phase out usage of any of the six categories of SUPs, as these announcements are non-binding.
As illustrated in Figure 3, all sales of the six categories of SUPs in the baseline scenario would be reallocated into one of three outcomes in the policy scenario: exemptions, demand reduction, or substitution. The reallocation factors into each outcome used in the analysis are presented in Table 7.
|Item category||Exemptions||Demand reduction||Substitution|
|SUP checkout bags||0||5||95|
|SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics||0||0||100|
|SUP ring carriers||0||0||100|
|SUP stir sticks||0||10||90|
Exemptions refer to the continued manufacture, import and sale of SUPs in certain cases as outlined in the “Description” section. The proposed Regulations would contain exemptions to retain access to SUP flexible straws for accessibility purposes. The historical database from 2015 to 2019 suggests that sales of SUP straws to “healthcare” and “households” accounted for around 6% of total sales. Given that the proposed Regulations would permit the sale of SUP flexible straws for healthcare and individual use, the analysis assumes a 10% exemption rate to account for those baseline sales as well as some contingency to account for increased sales by individuals who want a SUP straw, but would no longer receive one from a restaurant, for example. More analysis on this consideration is presented in the “Gender-based analysis plus” section.
Demand reduction refers to the expected decrease in demand for single-use substitutes that would be induced by the proposed Regulations. This may be the result of higher unit costs associated with substitutes that could drive behavioural change in retail settings (price elasticity of demand),footnote 27 whereby certain substitutes (e.g. paper checkout bags, paper straws, wood cutlery, wood stir sticks) might become offered “on demand” as opposed to “by default.”
Substitution refers to the replacement of the six categories of SUPs by their readily available substitutes. In general, for SUPs with multiple substitutes (e.g. foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics), reallocation into each substitute is based on relative market shares under the baseline scenario. SUP checkout bags are the only category of SUPs for which a reusable substitute (i.e. reusable plastic checkout bags) is also modelled. For all categories of SUPs except SUP checkout bags, the analysis assumes the substitution of one SUP item by one substitute item. For example, one SUP stir stick would be replaced by one single-use wood stir stick, and one SUP straw would be replaced by one single-use paper straw. For SUP checkout bags, additional factors are included to account for substitution into reusable checkout bags, as well as volume capacity differences between SUP checkout bags and their substitutes. Specifically, the analysis assumes that, on average, one single-use paper checkout bag would replace 1.2 SUP checkout bags, and one reusable checkout bag would replace 1.7 SUP checkout bags each time it is used.footnote 28 Using the requirements for distinguishing between a plastic checkout bag that is single use versus “reusable” (as per the “Description” section), the analysis assumes that each reusable checkout bag would be used 100 times on average, thereby replacing 170 SUP checkout bags over its lifetime.
As outlined in the “Description” section, the prohibition on manufacture and import are anticipated to come into force in 2023, while that for sale is anticipated to come into force in 2024 (with the exception of SUP straws, for which all prohibitions are expected to come into force in 2023). The analysis assumes that 60% of substitutions for each category of SUPs would occur in the first year of implementation and that the remaining 40% would occur in the second year of implementation. This is to account for the de-facto “sell-through” period between the prohibition on manufacture and import and the prohibition on sale. The chosen analytical period spans 10 years from the first year of implementation (2023 to 2032), and the first year of full policy stringency is the second year of implementation (2024).
The difference between the policy scenario and baseline scenario is the incremental change. As depicted in Table 8, the proposed Regulations are expected to reduce the plastic waste generated by the six categories of SUPs by 153 761 tonnes in the first year of full policy stringency (2024) and by around 1.6 million tonnes over the analytical period (2023 to 2032).
|Item category||Millions of units (first year of full stringency, 2024)||Millions of units (10-year analytical period, 2023–2032)||Tonnes (first year of full stringency, 2024)||Tonnes (10-year analytical period, 2023–2032)|
|SUP checkout bags||-14 984||-157 842||-120 668||-1 271 530|
|SUP cutlery||-4 583||-47 386||-11 041||-114 154|
|SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics||-833||-9 305||-17 446||-199 397|
|SUP ring carriers||-187||-1 923||-661||-6 807|
|SUP stir sticks||-3 042||-32 796||-1 825||-19 678|
|SUP straws||-5 301||-58 314||-2 120||-23 325|
|Total||-28 929||-307 566||-153 761||-1 634 890|
Due to inherent qualities of the substitution items, the reduction in plastic waste from the six categories of SUPs depicted in Table 8 would have an associated increase in waste from substitutes (e.g. substituting paper for plastic increases material weight). As illustrated in Table 9, the proposed Regulations are expected to increase the waste generated from substitutes by 298 054 tonnes in the first year of full policy stringency (2024) and by around 3.2 million tonnes over the analytical period (2023 to 2032), almost all of which is driven by paper substitutes. In the case of SUP checkout bags, SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, and SUP ring carriers, some of their substitutes would themselves be made of plastics, though they would represent inherently less risk to the environment. As shown in Table 9, substitutes made of plastics would represent an additional 21 519 tonnes of plastic waste in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), and 229 101 tonnes over the analytical period (2023 to 2032).
|Substitute material|| Millions of units
(first year of full stringency, 2024)
| Millions of units
(10-year analytical period, 2023–2032)
|Tonnes (first year of full stringency, 2024)||Tonnes (10-year analytical period, 2023–2032)|
|Paper||9 002||97 004||261 250||2 753 493|
|Wood||6 633||69 794||9 345||98 898|
|Plastics||707||7 535||21 519||229 101|
|Moulded fibre||161||1 933||5 139||62 403|
|Total||16 587||177 239||298 054||3 153 132|
Combining the results in Table 8 with those from the plastics row from Table 9, the proposed Regulations would result in an expected net reduction in plastic waste of 132 242 tonnes in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), and around 1.4 million tonnes over the analytical period (2023 to 2032), as illustrated in Table 10. The net reduction in plastic waste for checkout bags alone would represent 87% of the total net reduction in plastic waste by tonnage, or 53% by unit counts.
|Item category|| Millions of units
(first year of full stringency, 2024)
| Millions of units
(10-year analytical period, 2023–2032)
|Tonnes (first year of full stringency, 2024)||Tonnes (10-year analytical period, 2023–2032)|
|Checkout bags||-14 932||-157 295||-114 443||-1 205 860|
|Cutlery||-4 583||-47 386||-11 041||-114 154|
|Foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics||-260||-3 138||-3 676||-51 405|
|Ring carriers||-106||-1 101||863||8 633|
|Stir sticks||-3 042||-32 796||-1 825||-19 678|
|Straws||-5 301||-58 314||-2 120||-23 325|
|Total||-28 222||-300 031||-132 242||-1 405 789|
Quantifying the net decrease in plastic pollution (and associated increase in pollution from substitutes)
The proposed Regulations would result in a net reduction in plastic litter and plastic pollution stemming from the net reduction in plastic waste depicted in Table 10. A quantification framework relating to these estimations is presented in Figure 4, where the area of each rectangle represents a proportion of plastic waste, by tonnes (note: areas are not to scale, diagram is illustrative only, percentages relate to 2024).
Figure 4. Quantification framework for terrestrial and marine plastic pollution generated in Canada
Figure 4. Quantification framework for terrestrial and marine plastic pollution generated in Canada - Text version
Using proportions for 2024, the cost-benefit analysis estimates that 96.2% of baseline plastic waste (by tonnage) would be diverted and managed in a waste management stream such as landfill or recycling, and the remaining 3.8% would become plastic litter. Of the 3.8% of baseline plastic waste that becomes plastic litter, 2.1% would be removed from the environment and 1.7% would remain in the environment as plastic pollution. Of the 1.7% of baseline plastic waste that becomes plastic pollution, 1.5% would be terrestrial plastic pollution and 0.2% would be marine plastic pollution.
The quantification framework depicted in Figure 4 is populated using the following three-step methodology:
- Estimate the littering rates (See Table 11) associated with the six categories of SUPs. Certain literaturefootnote 29 has estimated the littering rates for SUP checkout bags, SUP cutlery, SUP foodservice ware, SUP stir sticks, and SUP straws. As the Department did not identify a specific estimate of the littering rate for ring carriers in the literature, the analysis uses the estimated littering rate for the overall packaging sector (from the Deloitte Study).
- Estimate the amount of plastic litter that is recovered through various clean-up initiatives that becomes properly disposed of in a managed waste stream and the amount of plastic litter that stays in the environment as plastic pollution. According to the Deloitte Study, the packaging sector accounted for an estimated 1.1 million tonnes of plastic waste in 2016. Of this amount, an estimated 29 600 tonnes were littered into the environment. Of this litter, an estimated 16 600 tonnes (56%) were recovered via clean-up efforts and properly disposed of, and an estimated 13 000 tonnes (44%) remained in the environment as plastic pollution. The analysis assumes that these proportions hold for the six categories of SUPs, which are a subset of the overall packaging sector, and that they would hold over the entire analytical period (i.e. paid and unpaid clean-up activities are expected to remain proportionate to the amount of baseline litter).
- Estimate the proportion of plastic pollution in the terrestrial versus marine environment. Certain literature has estimated that 5% of all plastic litter leaks into a marine environment.footnote 30 This approach to estimate marine plastic pollution excludes plastic pollution that enters Canadian fresh waters (including the Great Lakes, other lakes, and rivers) that never reach the oceans.
The expected reduction in plastic pollution, including marine plastic pollution, across the six categories of SUPs is presented in Table 11 for the first year of full policy stringency (2024).
|Item category||Net reduction
|Estimated littering rate||Avoided littered plastic (tonnes)||Reduction of plastic litter cleaned up (tonnes) table 11 note a||Reduction in total plastic pollution (tonnes)table 11 note b||Reduction in marine plastic pollution (tonnes)table 11 note c|
|checkout bags||-114 443||4.10%||4 692||2 628||2 065||235|
|foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics||-3 676||5.10%||187||105||82||9|
|stir sticks||-1 825||0.20%||4||2||2||0.2|
|Total||-132 242||N/A||4 990||2 795||2 196||250|
Table 11 Notes
Of the expected net reduction in plastic waste of 132 242 tonnes in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), 2 196 tonnes would be prevented from becoming plastic pollution, including 1 946 tonnes in terrestrial plastic pollution and 250 tonnes in marine plastic pollution. Of the expected net reduction in plastic waste of around 1.4 million tonnes across the total analytical period (2023 to 2032), 23 432 tonnes would be prevented from becoming plastic pollution, including 20 769 tonnes in terrestrial plastic pollution and 2 663 tonnes in marine plastic pollution. The proposed Regulations would also result in 2 795 tonnes in avoided plastic litter cleaned up from the environment in 2024 and 29 823 tonnes over the total analytical period.
Overall, the expected net reduction in plastic waste and plastic pollution associated with the proposed Regulations would represent around 4% of total estimated plastic waste and 7% of total estimated plastic pollution generated in Canada in 2024.footnote 31
The main benefit associated with a reduction in terrestrial and marine plastic pollution would be a reduction in the risk of injury or death to wildlife and improved natural habitat quality. Another benefit from these reductions would be an increase in enjoyment of natural scenery and outdoor public recreation spaces by individuals. These non-monetized benefits are expected to have a significant impact on the well-being of Canadians and the environment. The analysis also monetizes avoided terrestrial litter clean-up cost, as well as avoided marine plastic pollution in terms of tourism impacts, fisheries impacts, and avoided clean-up cost. Such monetization may partially capture the value that Canadians place on reduced risk to wildlife and their habitats, as well as human enjoyment of cleaner environments, given that the primary reasons that our society allocates time and resources to litter clean-up are environmental and aesthetic purposes.
Reduced risk of injury or death to wildlife and improved habitat quality
Most of the existing literature characterizes the harm from plastic pollution to wildlife and habitats in general, not specifically from SUPs, though conclusions regarding the former can be applied to the latter as SUPs are a common form of plastic pollution.
Plastic waste that enters the environment as plastic pollution does not decompose easily, and represents a persistent risk of harm to wildlife and habitats throughout its lifetime. In the marine environment, plastics degrade slower than they do on land, and light-weight plastic pollution (such as SUPs) can float on the surface of waters for a long time before sinking. The buoyancy of light-weight plastic pollution makes it easy for it to be carried by currents from smaller bodies of water to oceans, where it can collect in floating garbage patches. Marine wildlife that encounters plastic pollution on the water’s surface may sustain injuries or may mistake it for food.
Entanglement is one of the most frequently reported impacts of macroplastic pollution on wildlife.footnote 32 Certain literature estimates that over 200 species have been impacted by entanglement as of 2015, though this number is likely underestimated due to lack of reporting from some major global regions.footnote 33 The shape of certain plastic items (e.g. plastic bags and ring carriers) poses a threat of entanglement due to having a looped structure. Plastic bags pose among the most significant threats of entanglement to marine life, along with fishing gear and balloons.footnote 11 Entanglement can be lethal to animals, causing either suffocation or strangulation. When entanglement is not immediately lethal, it can cause severe sublethal impacts, including inhibited growth, physical injuries, reduced mobility and physiological stress in animals, which can lead to eventual mortality.footnote 34 For example, whole or parts of plastic items lodged in various body parts of wildlife can cause severe discomfort. Lethal impacts to marine plants, sponges, and coral include smothering by larger items (e.g. plastic bags), which affects gas exchange and their photosynthetic capacities.
Another physical impact of plastic pollution on wildlife is intentional or unintentional ingestion. Intentional ingestion is when an organism mistakes plastic pollution for food, whereas unintentional ingestion is when an organism feeds on another organism that has ingested plastic pollution, thereby indirectly absorbing that pollution through the food chain. Like entanglement, ingestion can be lethal or sublethal. Lethal effects include damage to internal organs and intestinal blockages, which can ultimately lead to starvation. Sublethal impacts include altered growth or condition, nutritional changes, contamination from toxic additives, and other internal damage.footnote 11 footnote 35 Studies have rated SUP checkout bags and SUP cutlery as the greatest ingestion risk for seabirds, turtles, and marine mammals.footnote 11
In addition to bodily harm to wildlife, macroplastic pollution can have adverse effects on habitats and ecosystems. Floating plastic items in marine environments can act as rafting vessels that transport non-native organisms into established ecosystems. These organisms can be predators to native species or may outcompete them for resources, leading to losses in biodiversity. Non-native species can also expose native species to diseases, which could alter the genetic diversity within ecosystems.footnote 36
Macroplastic pollution can also fragment into smaller pieces, and the resulting microplastic pollution can pose a significant threat of ingestion to wildlife. While the literature in this domain is scarce, ingestion of microplastic pollution may have negative impacts on organisms’ nutrition and metabolism,footnote 37 as well as reproduction and mortality rates.footnote 38 More literature is needed to understand the full effects of microplastic pollution on wildlife and their habitats.
The proposed Regulations are expected to reduce the risk of harm to wildlife and their habitats by reducing the amount of macroplastic pollution entering terrestrial and marine environments, thereby rendering fewer opportunities for wildlife to encounter such pollution and become adversely affected.
Increased enjoyment of ecosystem goods and services
In addition to beneficial impacts on wildlife and their habitats, the reduction in terrestrial and marine plastic pollution associated with the proposed Regulations would also increase the enjoyment of ecosystem goods and services for current and future generations. Reducing plastic pollution now is an investment in both the current and future provisions of ecosystem goods and services, in terms of the positive impacts they can provide to humans.footnote 39 Parks, beaches, and other outdoor public spaces provide a wealth of ecosystem services, such as regulating services (e.g. regulate climate and biological processes) and cultural services (e.g. recreation and relaxation).footnote 40 Increased accessibility and functionality to these spaces contributes to human well-being.footnote 39 The presence of plastic pollution in these environments can hinder the functionality and aesthetic beauty of outdoor public spaces.
A reduction of plastic pollution in public spaces may have positive impacts on recreational value for residents and tourists. Studies have found that people value aesthetic beauty and cleanliness, and litter is often cited as a reason why visitors will spend less time in certain environments or will avoid certain sites if they anticipate those sites will be full of litter.footnote 41 For example, studies have found cleanliness of beaches to be an important factor for tourists in deciding which beach to attend.footnote 42 Studies have also found that tourists expressed a positive willingness to pay for clean water and coastlines.footnote 43 Residents and tourists may therefore derive increased recreational value from using visually clean and sanitary public spaces. This is expected to have positive impacts on local tourism communities (through increased tourism revenues) since cleaner outdoor public areas tend to attract more tourists.
Plastic pollution can also hinder the accessibility and functionality of public spaces and prevent residents and tourists from enjoying activities in a natural setting. Specifically, the presence of litter can have direct consequences on individuals’ physical and mental health. Visitors and workers can be susceptible to a range of injuries, such as cutting themselves on sharp plastics and being exposed to unsanitary items,footnote 44 as well as to negative impacts on their emotional and mental well-being.footnote 45 Refraining from participating in activities that ecosystems typically offer can also have health implications due to foregoing opportunities to obtain the positive impacts associated with such goods. Plastic pollution can also act as a barrier to accessing outdoor public spaces, such as boardwalks and parks.
A reduction in plastic pollution in public spaces may also provide considerable cultural or emotional gratification. Evidence shows that humans experience well-being in the knowledge that animals are present and will remain there for future generations. For example, “charismatic” marine organisms such as seabirds or turtles hold significant cultural and emotional importance to some individuals, which suggests that a reduction in marine plastic pollution that reduces the risk of harm to charismatic species may also induce improvements to human well-being.footnote 46
Studies have found that people’s perceptions, preferences, and valuations of ecosystem goods and services differ by several variables including, but not limited to, income, culture, education, and gender.footnote 47 These individual characteristics play a role in the degree to which the population would enjoy the benefits of the proposed Regulations. Studies have also found that peoples’ relationship with ecosystem goods and services is positively correlated with their willingness to pay for them.footnote 48 Hence, individuals will reap the benefits of improved well-being differently, depending on their relationships with ecosystem goods and services and their respective positionalities.
Avoided terrestrial litter clean-up costs
The cost of cleaning up terrestrial litter predominantly relates to the cost of collecting the individual pieces of litter that are dispersed throughout urban and rural environments (e.g. streets, parks, roadsides, shorelines). These costs are usually borne by municipalities, but can also be carried by businesses on their properties, and can represent a significant opportunity cost when accomplished through volunteering activities.
Multiple Canadian municipal litter surveys (e.g. Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto) and provincial highway litter surveys (e.g. Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) provide information on plastic litter but do not disclose the costs incurred to clean up that litter. Therefore, the analysis makes use of publicly available case studies on terrestrial plastic litter clean-up costs and is structured on a per item basis. Assessing terrestrial litter clean-up costs on a tonnage basis would mischaracterize the scope of the benefit, given that plastic litter is numerous, light-weight, and scattered widely throughout the environment.
As shown in Table 11, the expected decrease in plastic litter cleaned up from the environment would be 2 795 tonnes in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or 29 823 tonnes over the analytical period (2023 to 2032). This tonnage would be equivalent to a reduction of more than 458 million SUP units cleaned up from the environment in 2024, or 4.9 billion SUP units over the analytical period. The analysis of avoided litter clean-up costs also needs to account for the increased littering of substitutes made from materials other than plastics. The littering rates for substitutes to the six categories of SUPs are expected to be the same as the six SUPs, independent of the material type, except for reusable checkout bags, which are expected to have a littering rate of 0.5% relative to the 4.1% littering rate for SUP checkout bags.footnote 49 Single-use substitutes made out of paper, wood, or moulded fibre are all biodegradable in the environment, and would represent around 95% of all substitutes, by weight. The littering of these substitutes is therefore not expected to result in long-term harm to the environment. However, a portion of these substitutes that are littered in the environment would still be cleaned up through paid and volunteer activities, before they had enough time to fully decompose. The proportion of these substitutes picked up during litter clean-up activities would vary depending on the category of item and the type of material. For example, a single-use paper straw decomposes in the environment much faster than a single-use paper checkout bag or a piece of single-use wood cutlery. While pollution from single-use aluminum foodservice ware would not decompose in the environment easily, these substitutes are expected to represent less than 1% of the total tonnage across all substitute materials.
The increased waste from non-plastic substitutes would result in 458 million items littered in the environment in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or 4.9 billion items over the analytical period (2023 to 2032), of which, less than one third (106 million items in 2024 or 1.1 billion items over the analytical period) would be cleaned up from the environment before fully decomposing. The proposed Regulations would therefore result in a net reduction of 352 million littered items cleaned up from the environment in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or 3.8 billion littered items over the analytical period (2023 to 2032).
Governments generally do not apportion litter costs based on individual pieces of litter, but rather, on the time spent cleaning up that litter. The literature provides some examples of annual per capita costs for litter collection, but these data are not helpful in determining the marginal cost of a specific source of litter (i.e. the six categories of SUPs). The majority of cost information comes primarily from roadside litter collection programs. However, there are limitations in generalizing roadside litter clean-up costs across all terrestrial litter clean-up, as roadside litter clean-up costs will vary depending on litter deposition rates and density, cost of labour, surface conditions, and cost of the necessary equipment.footnote 50 Different studies from the United States have estimated the cost of litter clean-up at between US$0.21 and US$1.29 per littered item for paid public employees, and at between US$0.047 and US$0.18 for voluntary labour under Adopt-a-Highway litter clean-up programs.footnote 51 Another study estimated that the cost of labour alone to collect each piece of litter that accidentally leaked into the environment from curbside recycling collection ranged from US$0.17 to US$0.79 per littered item.footnote 52
While the six categories of SUPs are among the most prevalent forms of plastic litter picked up during litter clean-up activities, other types of litter are also collected. Therefore, the following analysis is based on the average number of littered plastic items that can be picked up in one hour and assumes an average hourly labour rate or opportunity cost of volunteer labour of $15 per hour.
|Number of units of SUPs picked up in one hour||Cost of collection per item||Estimated total avoided terrestrial litter clean-up cost for 346 million units (2024)||Estimated total avoided terrestrial litter clean-up cost for 3 685 million units (2023–2032)|
|80 (central scenario)||$0.19||$61M||$583M|
Under the chosen central scenario, the proposed Regulations would result in $61 million in avoided terrestrial clean-up cost in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or $583 million across the analytical period (2023–2032). These cost savings represent $1.61 per capitafootnote 53 in avoided terrestrial litter clean-up cost in 2024, or $15.31 over the analytical period.
Avoided marine pollution costs
The proposed Regulations would result in an estimated net reduction in marine plastic pollution of 2 663 tonnes over the analytical period. While a number of studies have quantified the tonnage of plastic pollution in marine environments and provided qualitative analysis of the associated negative externalities, monetization of those impacts is still an emerging area of study, mainly due to very limited data.
The Deloitte Study estimated that 2 500 tonnes of plastic waste was permanently leaked into the Canadian marine environment as plastic pollution in 2016. Another study by Deloitte modelled the median economic cost of marine plastic pollution in terms of its impact on tourism, fisheries, and clean-up costs in Canada at US$31 million per year.footnote 54 Combining the two figures, the cost of marine plastic pollution in Canada can be estimated at approximately Can$16,000 per tonne. This figure is expected to be a low-bound estimate, as the proprietary model only considered inhabited coastlines for clean-up, rather than the entire coastline, since that model assumed local governments would prioritize clean-up budgets around inhabited areas in comparison to remote and isolated coastal areas. The model also excluded impacts to wildlife and their habitat, and on valuation of real estate in coastal areas. The prevalence and relatively small size of the six SUPs (as compared to other plastic litter, such as fishing gear) also suggests that the $16,000 would be a low-bound estimate. Considering an estimated net reduction of 250 tonnes in marine plastic pollution in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), the proposed Regulations would result in around $3.7 million in avoided costs of marine plastic pollution (or a net reduction of 2 663 tonnes in marine plastic pollution resulting in avoided costs of around $36 million over the analytical period).
Based on available literature, the analysis assumes that there are minimal negative externalities on the marine environment associated with single-use substitutes that are not made of plastic, as most of these substitutes would decompose either prior to reaching the marine environment or relatively quickly thereafter. In comparison, the six categories of SUPs are usually lighter and more buoyant than their non-plastic substitutes, which facilitate their transport via wind or water into marine environments.
The decreased quantity (and tonnage) of plastic waste and plastic pollution from the six categories of SUPs and associated increased quantity (and tonnage) of waste and pollution from substitutes to the six categories of SUPs would elicit several costs, explored in the subsections below.
Substitution cost (for all categories of SUPs except checkout bags)
For SUP cutlery, SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, SUP ring carriers, SUP stir sticks, and SUP straws, the proposed Regulations would result in an estimated 308 billion fewer SUPs sold (Table 8) and 178 billion more substitutes sold (Table 9) over the analytical period (2023–2032). Market data suggests that, on average, these SUPs are sold for lower unit prices than their readily available substitutes. Substitution costs refer to the price differentials between the SUPs that would have been sold in the absence of the proposed Regulations and the substitutes that are expected to take their place in the policy scenario, after accounting for demand reduction and the exemptions for SUP straws.
Figure 5. Substitution cost monetization framework
Note: Areas are not to scale and the diagram is illustrative only.
Figure 5. Substitution cost monetization framework - Text version
After accounting for demand reduction for single-use items, the baseline quantity of the six categories of SUPs prohibited would be replaced by readily available substitutes in the policy scenario. The cost-benefit analysis estimates this substitution cost by multiplying the quantity of units replaced by the average unit price differential between SUPs and substitutes.
While the unit price of any one single substitute is relatively small (i.e. ranging from $0.01 for a single-use wood stir stick to up to $0.34 for a single-use cardboard substitute to a ring carrier), the total substitution costs per year for the proposed Regulations are expected to be significant, given that these substitutes would replace around thirty billion SUP items annually, or around 800 SUP items per Canadian. As depicted in Table 13, the substitution costs for five of the categories of SUPs (excluding checkout bags) is estimated to be $185 million in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or nearly $1.8 billion over the analytical period (2023–2032). Those costs represent $4.85 per capita in 2024, or $46.41 per capita over the analytical period.
|Item category||First year of full policy stringency (2024)||Total analytical period (2023–2032)|
|SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics||32||324|
|SUP ring carriers||31||285|
|SUP stir sticks||4||34|
Substitution cost and secondary-use cost for SUP checkout bags
The proposed Regulations would result in an estimated 158 billion fewer units of SUP checkout bags sold over the analytical period (Table 8). In contrast to the five other categories of SUPs, the analysis for checkout bags considers substitution into reusable options alongside single-use paper substitutes. The Department of Natural Resources commissioned a report that was delivered in March 2021 to assess the potential impact of the proposed Regulations on Canadian fibre-based packaging manufacturers (not available publicly). The report concluded that single-use paper checkout bags would only be expected to replace a minority of baseline sales for SUP checkout bags, with the majority replaced by reusable checkout bags. This finding is consistent with case studies in other countries.
Reusable checkout bags vary in material, quality, and price. The analysis only considers the unit price of relatively cheap reusable checkout bags (made of plastics) rather than other more expensive styles (e.g. made of cotton). In this way, the analysis estimates a minimum-cost way of achieving the expected substitution into reusable checkout bags. Of course, even a cheaper-end reusable checkout bag is many times more expensive than one SUP checkout bag. The average price of one reusable checkout bag can be divided by its theoretical number of uses (assumed to be 100) to obtain a low-end estimated “cost per use” (essentially, a straight-line amortization), which allows for the direct comparison of individual uses of reusable checkout bags against single-use counterparts. Using this methodology, the price per use of a reusable checkout bag is approximately 5.6 times less than the unit price of one SUP checkout bag.
Substitution cost for checkout bags cannot be considered in isolation from secondary-use cost. While SUP checkout bags are designed to become waste after their single use is fulfilled, it is common for individuals to hold on to these bags to use them in secondary applications (i.e. beyond the primary application of facilitating the transport of purchased goods from a retail setting). Some common secondary uses of SUP checkout bags are as trash bin liners, pet waste bags, to hold packed lunches, or to hold a change of clothes. Estimates in the literature of the secondary-use rate of SUP checkout bags as trash bin liners vary, but tend to fall in the range of 12% to 22%.footnote 55 The analysis considers the cost to substitute SUP checkout bags, in their secondary application as a trash bin liners, with plastic garbage bags (Figure 6).
Figure 6. Secondary-use cost monetization framework: SUP checkout bags as trash bin liners
Figure 6. Secondary-use cost monetization framework: SUP checkout bags as trash bin liners - Text version
After accounting for demand reduction, the quantity of baseline SUP checkout bags sold is multiplied by the reuse rate of SUP checkout bags as trash bin liners. This proportion is then multiplied by the price differential between a comparable plastic garbage bag and a SUP checkout bag to estimate the secondary-use cost for garbage bags associated with the prohibitions on SUP checkout bags.
Given that the proposed Regulations would also result in a higher quantity of single-use paper checkout bags available for secondary use, some consideration is also needed for the potentially offsetting effect of secondary usage of single-use paper checkout bags as either trash bin liners or compost bin liners. Since there is uncertainty with respect to several analytical parameters (e.g. expected proportion of baseline sales for SUP checkout bags that would be replaced by single-use paper checkout bags, reuse rates for single-use paper checkout bags, composting availability and habits), a break-even analysis is performed instead to determine the unit price consumers would need to pay for paper bags in order for all costs related to SUP checkout bags (i.e. substitution and secondary use) to break even. Scenarios for this break-even analysis are presented in Table 14.
|Substitution rate: SUP to single-use paper table e2 note a||Substitution cost table e2 note b||Break-even price for paper bags (low scenario) table e2 note c||Break-even price for paper bags (high scenario) table e2 note d|
Table e2 note(s)
Assuming that 40% of baseline SUP checkout bag sales would be substituted by single-use paper checkout bags (central case), paper bags would need to cost at least $0.03 to break even under a “low scenario,” and $0.12 under a “high scenario.” The historic unit price for single-use paper checkout bags (presented in Table 2 in the “Background” section) is $0.08. Since paper bags purchased from a store, such as composting bin liners, are typically more expensive than the single-use paper checkout bags that would accompany groceries for example, the likelihood of breaking even is expected to be reasonably high.
The proposed Regulations would prevent approximately 1.6 million tonnes of plastics from entering the waste stream over the analytical period, but would also add about 3.2 million tonnes of other materials to the waste stream from the use of substitutes, due to their increased unit weights relative to SUPs. This increase in tonnage of waste would represent additional costs for municipalities and provincial authorities, as they are usually responsible for managing collection, transportation, and landfilling of plastic waste, and would assume most of the associated costs, which would ultimately be passed on to taxpayers.
The reduction in plastic tonnage entering the waste stream from a reduction in the six categories of SUPs represents cost savings to waste management in terms of avoided costs. However, the increase in tonnage from substitutes to the six categories of SUPs represents an increase in costs to waste management. The analysis considers three waste managementfootnote 56 pathways for modelling the waste management incremental costs and savings: landfilling, recycling, and composting. Figure 7 shows the pathways for the six categories of SUPs and their readily available substitutes. The rates at which waste is diverted to each pathway differ by category of SUP and material.
Incremental costs are calculated as the net of savings or avoided costs to waste management from a reduction in the tonnage of waste entering the waste stream from the six categories of SUPs, plus the associated increase in costs to waste management from an increase in tonnage from substitutes to the six categories of SUPs. The following aspects are considered for both SUPs and substitutes (where applicable): incremental tonnage for each material, diversion rates for each disposal pathway by category of SUPs, cost per tonne of collecting, transporting, sorting, and disposing of waste, and price of post-consumer material for materials being recycled. The cost per tonne of collecting, transporting, sorting and recycling plastic waste is based on the Deloitte Study, while the cost per tonne of collecting, transporting, sorting, and recycling or composting waste from other substitute materials is estimated from various publicly available reports, studies, and Canadian municipal websites on waste management. The analysis also considers value recovery for the recycling and composting pathways. Post-consumer pricefootnote 57 per tonne of plastic (reduction in the six categories of SUPs and increase in substitute plastic), paper, and aluminum is used to estimate the value recovery for the recycling pathway, and post-consumer price per tonne of paper, moulded fibre, and wood is used to estimate value recovery for the composting pathway.
The analysis also estimates cost savings associated with a reduction in the hampering of recycling machinery by SUP checkout bags. SUP checkout bags can clog recycling machinery, causing delays in efficiency to clean out the machine.footnote 58 The general methodology for estimating incremental costs to waste management is presented in Figure 8 (note: areas are not to scale, diagram is illustrative only). The estimation of costs per tonne of waste diverted into each of the three pathways is very similar, with the main difference being the consideration of value recovery for waste being recycled or composted. This is estimated for each of the six categories of SUPs and their readily available substitutes.
Figure 8. Waste management cost monetization framework
Figure 8. Waste management cost monetization framework - Text version
When waste is disposed into a managed waste stream, it is commonly diverted into one of three pathways: landfilling, recycling, or composting. For the recycling and composting pathways, the end material has a market value that can be recovered to offset a portion of its initial waste management cost. Accordingly, the net cost of managing waste is estimated by multiplying the cost per tonne of collecting, transporting, sorting, and disposing of waste by the total tonnage diverted to each of the three pathways, minus the value recovery per tonne multiplied by the total tonnage diverted to the recycling and composting pathways exclusively.
The reduction in tonnage of waste from the six categories of SUPs represents a decrease in costs to the waste management stream, while the associated increase in tonnage of waste from substitutes represents an increase in costs. Despite the greater abundance of materials with value recovery, the proposed Regulations would generate net waste management costs given that the price per tonne of post-consumer materials is much lower than the cost per tonne of collecting, transporting, sorting, and disposing of waste.
As presented in Table 15, the net waste management costs would be $18 million in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or $163 million over the analytical period (2023 to 2032). These costs represent $0.46 per capita in 2024, or $4.29 per capita over the analytical period. The majority of the cost savings from the reduction in tonnage of waste from the six categories of SUPs is attributable to SUP checkout bags, while the majority of the increased costs from the increase in tonnage of waste from substitutes is attributable to single-use paper checkout bags.
|Item category||First year of full policy stringency (2024)||Total analytical period (2023–2032)|
|Six categories of SUPs||-77||-734|
|Substitutes to the six categories of SUPs||95||897|
|Total incremental costs to waste management||18||163|
Life cycle assessment
One recognized approach to measuring the broad impacts of any manufactured item is through a life cycle assessment (LCA). As the name suggests, LCAs provide a modelling approach that considers a manufactured item’s complete life cycle, from cradle to grave, such as the upstream stage (e.g. natural resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation), the use stage (intended use by end user), and the downstream stage (e.g. disposal). Results are based on whichever environmental effects are identified for assessment, such as climate change, air quality, water quality, or biodiversity. Since these impacts go beyond the scope of the cost-benefit analysis for the proposed Regulations, a literature review of LCAs covering the six categories of SUPs and their readily available substitutes is presented in the “Strategic environmental assessment” section.
Perceived utility loss (from consumer preferences)
Substitutes to the six categories of SUPs perform an equivalent function to the SUPs they replace. For instance, a single-use paper checkout bag and a reusable checkout bag perform the same function as a SUP checkout bag: carrying purchased goods away from a retail setting. While SUPs and their substitutes are functionally equivalent, some consumers may have preferences for certain materials over others, and therefore, may not derive the same satisfaction from using SUP substitutes relative to SUPs. For example, on the negative side, certain single-use wooden cutlery may produce a subtle but detectable taste relative to SUP varieties, and certain single-use paper straws may become soggy after sitting in liquid for an extended period of time, both of which could detract from the user’s experience. On the other hand, some consumers may find that certain SUP substitutes increase their user satisfaction. For example, while some consumers may be inconvenienced by bringing (and remembering to bring) their own reusable checkout bags to a retail setting, others may enjoy their greater durability and lower likelihood for breakages, relative to SUP checkout bags. It is also possible that some consumers may derive additional satisfaction from using SUP substitutes through the knowledge that their consumer choice did not contribute to the proliferation of plastic waste. For some consumers, the increased satisfaction gained from using items that are not ecologically hazardous may outweigh losses to the user experience. Whether the proposed Regulations would result in a net satisfaction loss or a net satisfaction gain depends on consumer preference, both now and how they would evolve over time, given changes in behaviour due to the proposed Regulations.
The proposed Regulations would require any business that manufactures or imports any of the six SUPs for the purpose of export or re-export to keep a record (such as an invoice, contract or bill of lading) of the information and supporting documents establishing that the item has been or will be exported, as well as provide the records if requested by the Department. The Department expects that manufacturers and importers already collect the required information as part of their current business activities. The proposed Regulations should therefore not result in new administrative costs stemming from this requirement.
Businesses would be required to keep these administrative records for a period of at least five years. Should these records be requested by the Department’s enforcement officers during any site visits or remotely, that retrieval would be expected to take between two and four hours of work from the business manufacturing or importing any of the six categories of SUPs for export. Associated undiscounted costs are expected to total around $2,000 per year.
Familiarization with the administrative regulatory requirements and dissemination of the information is expected to take a person 30 minutes for a total one-time cost of $35.03 per manufacturing or importing firm.footnote 59 Familiarization with the administrative regulatory requirements and dissemination of the information, which would apply to around 250 000 businesses, is expected to take a person 15 minutes for a total one-time cost of $4.59 or $11.30 for businesses selling or offering any of the six SUPs, depending on if they are a small or a large business.footnote 60 This undiscounted one-time cost is expected to total around $1.2 million. All administrative costs are summarized in Table 16.
|Requirement||Total one-time cost ($2020, undiscounted)||Total annual cost ($2020, undiscounted)|
|Familiarization with the administrative requirements||$1.2M||$0|
|Responding to information requests from the Department||$0||$2,000|
The total discounted administrative costs to businesses over the analytical period (2023 to 2032) would be around $1.1 million (present value, $2020, discounted to base year 2021 at 3%).
The Department would incur incremental costs related to training, compliance and promotion activities, inspections, investigations, and measures to deal with any alleged violations. Specifically, an estimated one-time cost of $57,000 would be required to train enforcement officers, with an additional cost of $32,300 per year for administration, coordination, and analysis to support enforcement activities. Ongoing enforcement costs would vary depending on the number of inspections that would be performed by the Department’s enforcement officers, and would include inspections (which include operations and maintenance, and transportation), measures to deal with alleged violations (e.g. warnings, environmental protection compliance orders, and injunctions), investigations, and prosecutions. These costs are expected to gradually decrease from $1.6 million per year in the first year of full policy stringency (2024) to $0.95 million per year from 2028 onward. The Department would also incur costs for laboratory accreditation of reusable plastic checkout bags, reusable plastic straws, and reusable plastic cutlery (see the “Description” section). These costs are expected to gradually decrease from $0.74 million per year in the first year of full policy stringency (2024) to $0.30 million from 2028 onward.
The total discounted government costs in the first year of full policy stringency (2024) is estimated at $2.1 million or $13.4 million over the analytical period (2023 to 2032) [present value, $2020, discounted to base year 2021 at 3%].
Millions of units of the six categories of SUPs are used and disposed of by Canadians on a daily basis. In 2019, each Canadian used an estimated 800 SUPs on average, or about two SUPs on a daily basis (Table 1). As SUP checkout bags, SUP cutlery, SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, SUP ring carriers, SUP stir sticks and SUP straws are commonly used items throughout the economy, all Canadians would be expected to be impacted by the proposed Regulations. Under the proposed Regulations, Canadians would use and dispose of comparatively more single-use (or reusable) substitutes to the SUPs overall, but in some instances, SUPs may not be replaced by another single-use product (e.g. not asking for a straw). The substitution cost associated with the proposed Regulations would be $4.85 per Canadian in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or $46.41 per Canadian over the analytical period (2023 to 2032). As detailed in the “Gender-based analysis plus” section, the substitution cost may be felt more acutely by Canadians with low-income and limited disposable income, as most (if not all) of the cost of implementing the ban would likely be passed on from retailers to consumers through increased prices for food, beverages, and store merchandise.
All substitution costs are expected to be passed onto consumers once the proposed Regulations come into force. The majority of SUP cutlery, SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, and SUP stir sticks are purchased by consumers in conjunction with food or beverage purchased in restaurants, cafés, or other facilities providing those services. Currently, the price of these items is usually embedded in the price of the overall transaction, and represents only a small fraction of it. For SUP checkout bags, substitution costs are also expected to be borne by consumers, either directly (i.e. a per-paper bag fee charged by the retailer) or indirectly (i.e. embedded in the price of goods purchased from the retailer). Consumers would also face substitution costs directly if they were to buy packages of any of the substitutes from a store, as well as any purchase of beverages that previously contained a SUP ring carrier, as these beverages would be purchased in tandem with the substitute carrier.
Businesses selling or offering any of the six categories of SUPs
The Department estimated that the proposed Regulations could impact up to 250 000 businesses selling, or offering any of the six categories of SUPs in Canada, of which, around 242 000 would be considered small businesses, as defined in the Treasury Board Secretariat’s Policy on Regulatory Development (see the “Small business lens” section for further analysis).
Around 40% of these businesses are in the retail sector, and therefore, mostly impacted by the proposed Regulations through the ban on SUP checkout bags. Some of those businesses sell at least one of the six categories of SUPs directly to consumers. These businesses would be able to sell any single-use or reusable substitute instead, and therefore, should not be impacted by the proposed regulatory prohibitions. Businesses in the accommodation and foodservices sector would represent around 35% of all the businesses that potentially sell or offer any of the six categories of SUPs. Many of these businesses are expected to sell more than one of the six categories of SUPs. For example, a quick-service restaurant could be offering SUP checkout bags, SUP cutlery, SUP foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastic, SUP stir sticks, and SUP straws. The healthcare and social assistance sector comprises around 15% of potentially affected businesses where businesses would still be able to offer flexible plastic straws to patients or residents requiring it. The remaining 10% is split between the art, entertainment, and recreation sector, the transportation sector, and the wholesale trade sector. The geographic distribution of these 250 000 businesses selling or offering any of the six SUPs is mostly in-line with Statistic Canada’s population estimate by province.footnote 61
Businesses manufacturing any of the six categories of SUPs
Based on data acquired from a market analytics firm, the Department identified 131 unique businesses that potentially manufacture at least one of the six categories of SUPs as of March 2021. Of these businesses, seven are also importing at least one of the six categories of SUPs. Almost 80% of the facilities that manufacture these SUPs are located in Quebec and Ontario, and 15% are located in Alberta and British Columbia. Seventy-nine of these businesses are estimated to be small businesses (see the “Small business lens” section for further analysis).
The majority of the 131 unique businesses manufacture only one category (84%) or two categories (11%) of SUPs. Of the 78 businesses that manufacture SUP checkout bags, 70 produce that category of SUPs exclusively (Table 17). Of the 54 businesses that manufacture foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics, 37 produce that category of SUPs exclusively. The majority of businesses that manufacture SUP straws, SUP cutlery, SUP stir sticks, or SUP ring carriers produce more than one category of SUPs. While it is possible to estimate the total revenue for most of the 131 unique businesses manufacturing the SUPs that would be prohibited or restricted under the proposed Regulations, it is not possible to estimate the share of that revenue that is attributable to the manufacture and sale of the SUPs.
|Item category||Straws||Checkout bags||Cutlery||Foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics||Stir sticks||Ring carriers||Total|
|Total||11||78||14||54||8||3||168table 17 note a|
Table 17 Notes
The proposed regulatory prohibitions on six categories of SUPs are not expected to result in stranded assets. Plastic item manufacturing, including single-use items, uses processes that rely on a limited series of equipment types that become more standardized upstream. For example, plastic manufacturing often relies on melt extrusion machines that can be calibrated to input multiple resin types and multiple processing parameters. According to Statistics Canada and other sources, the main cost drivers for plastic item manufacturing include the cost of goods sold rather than the equipment to produce it, and the Deloitte Study found that resin costs alone can represent roughly one quarter of total manufacturing costs.
The capital assets that are most at risk include custom-made molds and dies that cannot be reconfigured or repurposed, such as SUP cutlery moulds. Depending on their quality, size, and complexity, molds can range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars,footnote 62 so the assets most at risk include non-amortized plastic moulds and dies. Upstream from moulds and dies, most capital equipment can be adjusted to manufacture other products, especially products made from similar production techniques (e.g. equipment that makes SUP straws can also be used to make plastic pipes with adjustments). The capital assets least at risk include those that are designed with the flexibility to manufacture a variety of products, such as equipment designed to make several types and sizes of plastic bags.
Under the proposed Regulations, businesses that manufacture any of the six categories of SUPs would face a decrease in domestic demand for these goods. These businesses could either decide to maintain or increase their current production of the six categories of SUPs for export purposes, or they could decide to retool their production lines to manufacture other plastic items that would not be prohibited under the proposed Regulations. Data from Statistics Canada suggests that around 40% of the domestic production of plastic bags is exported, and that import of plastic bags represents around 55% of the domestic demand. Data on trade exposure was not available at the level of the five other categories of SUPs.footnote 63
Businesses importing any of the six categories of SUPs
Based on the Canadian Importers Database,footnote 64 the Department estimated that 128 unique businesses imported at least one of the six categories of SUPs in 2019, of which 7 also manufacture at least one of the six categories of SUPs as described in the previous subsection. Forty-one of these businesses would be small businesses (see the “Small business lens” section for further analysis). Of the 128 businesses, 44% only import one category of SUPs, 10% import two categories, 17% import three categories, and 29% import four or more categories. The impact of the proposed Regulations on businesses importing any of the six categories of SUPs would be minimal, as these businesses could switch supply lines to import single-use (or reusable) substitutes that comply with the proposed Regulations.
Businesses manufacturing single-use substitutes to the six categories of SUPs
The Department of Natural Resources commissioned a report that was delivered in March 2021 to assess the potential impact of the proposed Regulations on Canadian fibre-based packaging manufacturers (available upon request). The report’s conclusions suggest that the proposed regulatory prohibition on SUP checkout bags would have to provide a sufficient increase in sales volume of fibre-based substitutes to Canadian manufacturers in order for them to consider seizing the market opportunity. The proposed regulatory prohibitions on foodservice ware could also create an opportunity for fibre substitutes, but this opportunity is less certain due to the smaller market and investment needed to achieve required performance characteristics with fibre substitutes.
The report showed that demand for paper bags per capita has decreased by 80% since the 1970s, as public opinion took on deforestation concerns in the 1990s, but experienced a slight increase in demand in the 2010s as public opinion turned toward the issue of plastic pollution. As shown in the “Benefits and costs” section, the proposed regulatory prohibitions could result in an increase of more than 200 000 tonnes in single-use paper bags in 2024. Regardless, the report suggests that Canada’s two main producers of kraft paper (the paper used to make paper checkout bags), one located in Manitoba, the other located in British Columbia, may decide not produce more kraft paper as a result of the proposed Regulations.
As an indirect outcome of the proposed Regulations, the report suggests that new demand for kraft paper to make single-use paper checkout bags could be met by domestic production by firms in the declining market of graphic papers and firms with idled mills, which have a combined excess production capacity of 200 000 tonnes. To make the switch to producing single-use paper checkout bags, these firms would need to make a small capital expenditure. The report concluded that additional demand for single-use paper checkout bags could also be met easily by imports from the United States.
- Number of years: 10 years (2023 to 2032)
- Base year for costing: 2020
- Present value base year: 2021
- Discount rate: 3%
|Impacted stakeholder||Description of cost||2023||2024||2032||Total (2023–2032)||Annualized value|
|Canadians||Substitution (for all items except checkout bags)||$130||$185||$180||$1,770||$207|
|Canadians||Substitution and secondary use (for checkout bags)||Break-even||Break-even||Break-even||Break-even||Break-even|
|Certain manufacturers, importers, and retailers||Administrative||$0.7||$0.4||$0.002||$1.1||$0.1|
|Government||Compliance and enforcement||$1.4||$2.1||$0.9||$13.4||$1.6|
|All stakeholders||Total costs||$143||$205||$197||$1,948||$228|
|Impacted stakeholder||Description of benefit||2023||2024||2032||Total (2023–2032)||Annualized value|
|Canadians||Avoided terrestrial litter clean-up cost||$42||$61||$59||$583||$68|
|Canadians||Avoided marine pollution cost||$2||$4||$4||$36||$4|
|All stakeholders||Total benefits||$44||$65||$63||$619||$72|
|Impacts||2023||2024||2032||Total (2023–2032)||Annualized value|
|Total costs (in millions of dollars)||$142||$205||$197||$1,948||$228|
|Total monetized benefits (in millions of dollars)||$44||$65||$63||$619||$72|
|Net monetized impact — net cost (in millions of dollars)||$98||$140||$134||$1,329||$156|
|Quantified reduction in plastic waste (tonnes avoided)||78 096||132 242||163 898||1 405 789||140 579|
|Net non-monetized impact: benefits to wildlife and humans in the form of reduction in plastic pollution (tonnes avoided)||1 293||2 196||2 744||23 432||2 343|
As shown in Table 18, the proposed Regulations are expected to result in $205 million in costs in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or $1.9 billion in costs over the analytical period (2023 to 2032). While these costs are significant in aggregate, they would be widely dispersed across Canadian consumers (around $5 per capita in 2024 or $50 per capita over the analytical period). Some consumers may feel the burden of these costs more than others, though these distributional impacts are expected to be relatively minor, especially given the exemptions for SUP flexible straws for accessibility purposes. This and other factors are explored in the “Gender-based analysis plus” section. All costs (except administrative and government costs) are assessed at the consumer level. Cost to businesses operating in the Canadian plastics industry is expected to be mitigated, as manufacture for export would be not prohibited under the proposed Regulations.
As shown in Table 19, the proposed Regulations are expected to result in $65 million in monetized benefits in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or $619 million in monetized benefits over the analytical period (2023 to 2032), stemming mainly from the avoided cost of terrestrial litter clean-up. As shown in Table 20, the costs and monetized benefits of the proposed Regulations would total $140 million in net cost in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or $1.3 billion in net cost over the analytical period (2023 to 2032).
While the proposed Regulations are expected to result in a total net cost with respect to monetized impacts, the most significant benefit is non-monetized; namely, the reduction in risk of harm to wildlife and their habitats from less plastic pollution. As shown in Table 20, the proposed Regulations are expected to result in 132 242 avoided tonnes of plastic waste in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or 1.4 million tonnes over the analytical period (2023 to 2032), of which 1 293 tonnes, or 23 432 tonnes, respectively, would be avoided plastic pollution. By item count, those values translate to around 28 billion units of avoided plastic waste in the first year of full policy stringency (2024), or around 300 billion units over the analytical period (2023 to 2032), of which 360 million units, or 3.8 billion units, respectively, would represent avoided plastic pollution. Given the extent of ecological harm that the six categories of SUPs becoming plastic pollution can cause to wildlife and their habitats, and the reduction of enjoyment of ecological goods and services by Canadians, the associated non-monetized benefits are expected to be significant.
There are several parameters and assumptions impacting the results presented in Table 20. The most sensitive factors affecting the cost-benefit analysis results are those explored in the scenario analyses presented in Table 12 in the “Avoided terrestrial litter clean-up costs” subsection and in Table 14 in the “Substitution cost and secondary-use cost for SUP checkout bags” subsection of the “Benefits and costs” section. Tables 21 through 24 present monetized and discounted cost and benefits for a few additional scenarios.
|Impacts||3% (central case)||0%||7%|
|Total costs (millions of dollars)||$1,948||$2,376||$1,523|
|Total monetized benefits (millions of dollars)||$619||$755||$484|
|Net monetized impact — net costs (millions of dollars)||$1,329||$1,621||$1,039|
|Net non-monetized impact: benefits to wildlife and humans in form of reduction in plastic pollution (tonnes avoided)||23 432||23 432||23 432|
|Impacts||100 (central case)||50||200|
|Total costs (millions of dollars)||$1,948||$1,967||$1,938|
|Total monetized benefits (millions of dollars)||$619||$615||$621|
|Net monetized impact — net costs (millions of dollars)||$1,329||$1,352||$1,317|
|Net non-monetized impact: benefits to wildlife and humans in form of reduction in plastic pollution (tonnes avoided)||23 432||22 247||24 024|
|Impacts||0% (central case)||1%||2%|
|Total costs (millions of dollars)||$1,948||$1,727||$1,519|
|Total monetized benefits (millions of dollars)||$619||$619||$619|
|Net monetized impact — net costs (millions of dollars)||$1,329||$1,108||$900|
|Net non-monetized impact: benefits to wildlife and humans in form of reduction in plastic pollution (tonnes avoided)||23 432||23 432||23 432|
Table 23 Notes
|Impacts||$15 (central case)||$20||$30|
|Total costs (millions of dollars)||$1,948||$1,948||$1,948|
|Total monetized benefits (millions of dollars)||$619||$803||$1,203|
|Net monetized impact — net costs (millions of dollars)||$1,329||$1,145||$745|
|23 432||23 432||23 432|
Small business lens
Analysis under the small business lens concluded that the proposed Regulations would impact small businesses that would be prohibited from manufacturing, importing, or selling any of the six categories of SUPs, with limited exemptions as presented in the “Description” section. The proposed Regulations would impact an estimated 242 000 businesses that sell or offer these SUPs, 79 businesses that manufacture them, and 43 businesses that import them. Additional flexibility to limit the burden on small businesses is not appropriate, as the environmental objective of the proposed Regulations could not be met unless all SUPs subject to the proposed Regulations are prohibited.
The proposed Regulations are not expected to result in any direct compliance cost to small businesses that sell or import any of the six categories of SUPs, since substitution costs would be expected to be ultimately absorbed by consumers and since importers can import any other products, including substitutes to the six categories of SUPs.
The proposed Regulations could result in compliance costs for small businesses that manufacture any of the six categories of SUPs, depending on the business decisions made as a result of the proposed Regulations. Compared to the baseline scenario, small businesses that manufacture any of the six categories of SUPs would face a decrease in demand for these products under the proposed Regulations, and may decide to maintain or increase their current production of the six categories of SUPs for export purposes, or retool their production lines to manufacture plastic items that would not be prohibited under the proposed Regulations. As these business decisions are unique to each company, the cost-benefit analysis did not estimate these potential one-time costs for small businesses. As consumers are expected to bear the substitution and secondary use costs associated with the proposed Regulations, no costs that may be carried by small businesses were ultimately monetized and attributed to them in the cost-benefit analysis.
Inputs into the calculation and relevant assumptions for administrative costs, including for small businesses, are presented in the “Administrative costs” subsection and the “Distributional analysis” subsection of the “Benefits and costs” section.
Small business lens summary
- Number of small businesses impacted: 242 122
- Number of years: 10 (2023 to 2032)
- Base year for costing: 2020
- Present value base year: 2021
- Discount rate: 3%
|Description of cost||Annualized value||Present value|
|Average cost per small business||$0.56||$4.32|
The one-for-one rule applies since there is an incremental increase in the administrative burden on business, and a new regulatory title is introduced. Inputs into the calculation and relevant assumptions are presented in the “Administrative costs” subsection of the “Benefits and costs” section. These costs were adjusted from 2020 dollars to 2012 dollars for the purpose of calculating the increase in the administrative burden under the one-for-one rule. Using 2012 constant dollars, with 2012 as the base year, a 10-year timeframe from the year of registration (i.e. 2022 to 2031), and a 7% discount rate, the annualized average increase in the administrative burden on businesses is estimated at $66,402 or an average of $0.27 per business, as calculated using the Treasury Board Secretariat’s Regulatory Cost Calculator tool.
Regulatory cooperation and alignment
Aligning with current best practices
Plastic waste and plastic pollution is a global issue, and markets for SUPs are highly integrated globally, particularly between Canada and the United States. Recognizing these important considerations, the Department consulted extensively with government officials in other Canadian jurisdictions and international jurisdictions (United States, United Kingdom, and European Union) on their respective approaches to banning or restricting SUPs.
According to the United Nations, out of 192 countries reviewed, 127 have adopted some type of regulation to regulate plastic bags including restrictions on the manufacture, distribution, trade, free retail distribution, or taxation. Twenty-seven countries have implemented legislation prohibiting either specific single-use products (e.g. plates, cups, straws) or materials (e.g. polystyrene) or limiting production levels. About 30 countries have instituted taxes on either the manufacture of plastic bags, on the distribution of plastic bags to consumers, on SUPs broadly through environmental tax or a combination of taxation methods. In 2019, the European Union enacted a SUPs directive, which included a list of SUPs to be banned by member states by 2021, and the United Kingdom enacted a similar measure in 2020. There are currently no policy measures in place in the United States to restrict or eliminate the use of SUPs at the federal level, but several states including the states of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Oregon have already enacted prohibitions on SUP checkout bags.
The information gathered throughout these engagement activities informed the policy design and implementation approach of the proposed Regulations to minimize regulatory differences with key trading partners and provinces and territories; align with existing standards and best practices; and build upon lessons learned from other jurisdictions, so as to minimize regulatory differences to the extent practicable. As an example, the Department consulted reusable bag vendors and gathered information from officials from the State of California to inform the development of performance thresholds for SUP checkout bags that align with the certification requirements for reusable bags in California, which is considered a North American industry standard. This approach would help minimize the cumulative regulatory burden on business operating in both the United States and Canada.
Cooperating with provinces, territories, and municipalities
Preventing plastic waste and pollution are matters of shared jurisdiction between the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Provinces and territories are key partners in addressing plastic waste and plastic pollution from SUPs. As of June 2021, several provinces and territories have measures in place that specifically address SUPs:
- Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador banned SUP checkout bags;
- British Columbia announced in September 2020 its intention to create a framework to allow municipalities to put in place local bans on SUPs;
- the Yukon amended its environmental protection legislation to enable regulations to prohibit or restrict SUPs, and Yukon announced in its 2021 Speech from the Throne that single-use plastics would be banned in the territory;
- the Northwest Territories put in place a bag fee program for all types of single-use checkout bags (plastic and paper); and
- Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia developed or amended extended producer responsibility policies to include SUPs.
In addition, 84 local governments in Canada have enacted bylaws to prohibit or restrict SUP checkout bags, though at least 13 of these laws are not yet in force as of August 2021. Some local governments have also enacted bylaws prohibiting or restricting other SUPs, such as SUP straws (7 local governments), expanded polystyrene SUP takeout containers (6 local governments), and SUP cutlery (2 local governments).
The proposed Regulations would have implications for many of these provincial, territorial, and municipal measures. Currently, the existing bans on SUPs function as a patchwork of rules that seek to address issues that are, in essence, national and international in scope. SUPs are typically sold into regional or national markets that are beyond the reach of provincial, territorial, or municipal bans. Only federal measures are capable of effectively preventing pollution and waste from the six categories of SUPs subject to the proposed Regulations. The proposed Regulations would also help rationalize and simplify the existing patchwork of measures that broadly align in terms of objectives (i.e. preventing waste and pollution), but also create many inconsistencies (e.g. what constitutes a reusable plastic checkout bag). The proposed Regulations would address this patchwork by creating a single set of rules that are national in scope, reducing duplicative compliance and reporting obligations from multiple jurisdictions. This will help achieve many of the same objectives as the provincial, territorial, and municipal bans, while increasing regulatory certainty for business. In addition, the Department is not expecting it to cause any conflicts with existing measures, as the proposed Regulations have been designed to align with as many existing municipal and provincial measures as possible.
For straws, however, local government bylaws prohibiting or restricting certain SUP straws could be impacted if, for example, they allow or require restaurants to provide single-use plastic straws to customers upon request.
Provinces that have included SUPs in proposed or existing extended producer responsibility policies may see a reduction in the number of SUP items recovered. However, given that the proposed Regulations would target SUP items that are both environmentally problematic and difficult to recycle, the effect on provincial extended producer responsibility policies is likely to be positive. Among other things, the removal of SUP items that are difficult to recycle from the waste stream will
- shift demand to substitutes that can more easily be recovered through strategies such as recycling and composting;
- improve the efficiency of sorting and recycling processes by removing items that hamper machinery or fall into residual waste sent to landfill; and
- improve plastic recycling rates by eliminating many SUP items that are placed on the market but not successfully collected, sorted or recycled.
Coordination efforts such as those described above will help minimize the cumulative regulatory burden on businesses associated with the proposed Regulations.
The Government of Canada is committed to respecting its commitments in relation to international trade. The Department worked closely with other federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, to ensure the proposed Regulations comply with Canada’s existing trade obligations, including those under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) and those under World Trade Organization agreements. In addition, during the public consultation period held in fall 2020, industry stakeholders raised concerns regarding the potential implications of a ban on certain SUP items for companies exporting those products. To mitigate these concerns, the proposed Regulations would not prohibit the manufacturing and import of the six categories of SUPs for the purpose of export. Canadian businesses would therefore maintain their ability to market these products abroad. This approach aligns with the rules existing in the European Union.
Strategic environmental assessment
Purpose of a strategic environmental assessment
In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was completed for the proposed Regulations. Among other things, a SEA
- assesses the scope and nature of the potential environmental effects of a proposed policy, plan or program;
- identifies areas for mitigation or enhancement of negative or positive environmental effects;
- analyzes residual effects that may remain after mitigation; and
- proposes follow-up measures to monitor the environmental effects.
Approach taken to assess potential environmental effects
The SEA examined the potential environmental effects that could result from the restriction or elimination of the six categories of SUPs from the Canadian market. This included examining both the potential direct effects of reduced plastic waste and pollution, as well as potential effects at different points in the value chain that may be caused by increased consumption of substitutes, such as those made from substitute plastics, wood or paper.
The Department drew from a broad range of evidence sources to conduct its analysis. This followed guidance issued by UNEP on life cycle approaches to addressing SUP products pollution. UNEP’s guidance states that “[life cycle assessment] provides important insights for policymakers, but these need to be supplemented with a range of additional studies and knowledge.” The Department therefore drew from available LCAs for the six categories of SUPs subject to the proposed Regulations, as well as from litter data, scientific studies, the Deloitte Study, other reports on the environmental and value-recovery outcomes of the six categories of SUPs, and the Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution, among other sources. Figure 9 below shows the life cycle of SUPs and other single-use items.
|Life cycle stage||Description|
|First stage: Upstream stage||
|Second stage: Use stage||Intended use|
|Third stage: Downstream stage||
The approach taken in the SEA identified the six categories of SUPs subject to the proposed Regulations, as well as substitute products that could feasibly be adopted in Canada at scale, and for which sufficient data was available to conduct an analysis. The substitute products analyzed in the SEA are described in Table 26.
|SUP product||Substitutes analyzed in the SEA table f4 note a table f4 note b|
|Foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics||
Table f4 note(s)
The Department then drew from available LCAs to scope the various categories of environmental effects that could be analyzed at three stages in a product’s life cycle:
- the upstream stage (encompassing all activities before the end user);
- the use stage (encompassing all activities during a product’s use by the end user); and
- the downstream stage (encompassing all activities after a product’s use by the end user).
|Life cycle stage||Activities included||Environmental effects considered|
The Department then applied the available evidence to assess potential environmental effects, positive and negative, that could result from the elimination or restriction of each of the categories of SUPs subject to the proposed Regulations.
The assessment considered information available on potential environmental effects that would result from a reduction in the current levels of the six SUPs in commerce and a resulting increase in substitutes. This analysis was applied at each of the three stages mentioned above and was largely qualitative in nature, in particular due to inconsistencies between available LCAs, such as the substitutes analyzed, parameters pertaining to the data used, and the environmental effects assessed. In addition, available litter data from different sources (e.g. shoreline clean-up data versus municipal litter audits) use different methodologies, categorizations, and data standards, precluding quantitative analysis. LCAs were done for different jurisdictions, mostly non-domestic. Due to these inconsistencies, as well as other variables such as humidity, weight ratios, and the use of recycled materials, it was not feasible to determine the extent or magnitude of the environmental effects.
At the upstream stage, available LCAs are the main source of evidence, though some additional evidence sources were also consulted, in particular the Deloitte Study and some meta-analyses of LCAs.
|Environmental effects||Summary of findings on the net environmental effects of eliminating or restricting the SUP items subject to the proposed Regulations||Conclusion|
|Climate change||Depending on the weight difference between the SUP and a substitute, substitutes typically have higher climate change impacts, due to the scale at which SUPs are produced, as well as natural resource inputs (e.g. logging), electricity sources (e.g. reusable bags made in other countries may depend on coal-generated electricity), and unit weight affecting GHG emissions during transportation.||Some minor negative environmental effects|
|Air quality||Production of substitutes, in particular non-plastic substitutes made from wood, paper, or cotton, may affect air quality, including through higher amounts of particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, creating a higher risk of smog and acid rain.||Some negative environmental effects|
|Water quality||Production of substitutes may affect water quality in both the marine and freshwater environments, including eutrophication (e.g. increased production of algae) and acidification from releases of nitrogen or phosphorus into the water in the extraction of natural resources (e.g. cotton) and the manufacturing process.||Some negative environmental effects|
|Water quantity||Production of substitutes typically uses or consumes more water than production of SUPs, either in the production of inputs (e.g. watering crops) or in the manufacturing process itself.||Some negative environmental effects|
|Terrestrial environmental quality||Substitutes may affect environmental quality on land through acidification, as well as natural resource depletion (e.g. logging).||Some negative environmental effects|
At the use stage, the only environmental effect identified in LCAs related to water usage (i.e. to wash reusable products), but the Department has concluded that increases in water usage would likely be minimal. Reusable products would be expected to be washed alongside other articles. For example, a reusable woven polypropylene bag would be washed alongside clothes in a washing machine, or a reusable metal spoon would be washed alongside other dishes, cups, and glasses. This water would be used regardless of whether the proposed Regulations were in place or not.
At the downstream stage, environmental effects relate to waste (i.e. how SUPs and their substitutes are managed at end-of-life) and pollution (i.e. the extent to which SUPs and their substitutes enter the environment and pose a threat to wildlife) were evaluated. In terms of available evidence, LCAs provide some information, but analysis and findings are inconsistent, qualitative, do not apply the waste management hierarchy in assessing end-of-life outcomes, and consider the ecological impacts of litter only qualitatively. As a result, analysis at the downstream stage of this SEA relied more on other evidence sources, including litter data, scientific studies on physical harm caused by litter, data, and information on end-of-life outcomes, and the science assessment.
In terms of end-of-life outcomes at the downstream stage, each of the categories of SUPs targeted by the proposed Regulations has low or very low recycling rates (less than 15%), as well as barriers to increasing their recycling rate. They are also expected to have no potential for other forms of value recovery, such as reuse, repair, remanufacture, or refurbishment. By contrast, substitutes have high potential for value recovery through recycling (e.g. products made from paper) or reuse (e.g. reusable bags, cutlery, and straws that meet the performance standards established in the proposed Regulations).
In terms of environmental effects, the following table summarizes potential environmental effects for each of the categories scoped for consideration at the downstream stage.
|Environmental effects||Summary of findings on the net environmental effects of eliminating or restricting the SUP items subject to the proposed Regulations||Conclusion|
|Climate change||Some substitutes such as those made from paper may produce GHGs such as methane in certain conditions (e.g. when decomposing in landfills). Substitutes with higher recycling rates (e.g. paper products) would result in lower GHG emissions due to avoided emissions from displacing virgin materials.||No significant environmental effects|
|Air quality||Air quality effects depend on end-of-life management methods — incineration (with or without electricity generation) of either SUPs or substitutes may affect air quality. However, given that substitutes are typically more recyclable, or have significantly longer lifespans, incineration is not expected to be a major end-point for substitutes in the downstream stage of the life cycle.||Potential environmental effects|
|Water quality||The science assessment shows that water quality would be impacted by plastic pollution through, among other things, the release of micro- and macroplastic particles, including from SUPs as they fragment and degrade in the natural environment. Removing SUP items as a source of plastic pollution would eliminate their impact on water quality.||Significant positive environmental effects|
|Water quantity||More recyclable substitutes could use water as part of the recycling process, including to wash or sort materials, but this is not expected to be significant in the context of increasing recycling activity through other instruments such as extended producer responsibility being implemented in provinces and territories.||Potential environmental effects|
|Terrestrial environmental quality||The science assessment shows that, among other things, plastic particles are retained in the soil for long periods of time, and that macroplastics can harm vegetation through effects such as smothering. Littered SUPs would be expected to contribute to such environmental harm more than reusable plastic substitutes, and much more than non-plastic substitutes.||Significant positive environmental effects|
|Biodiversity||SUPs are more prevalent in the environment than any substitute and pose a greater threat to wildlife than any substitute. All evidence sources showed that substitutes to SUPs are significantly better for wildlife in terms of the threats of harm posed by litter. Elimination or restriction of the six categories of SUPs would remove a significant threat of harm.||Significant positive environmental effects|
Mitigation and enhancement
The SEA identified a range of mitigation opportunities to reduce, or eliminate the negative environmental effects identified at the upstream stage that may be caused by increased consumption of substitutes:
- rules for reusable products: Many LCAs conclude that a reusable substitute must be used many times before its environmental impacts equal or become less than that of SUPs. The proposed Regulations would mandate minimum performance standards for reusable plastic checkout bags, cutlery, and straws. The performance standards would ensure that reusable substitutes made of plastic could be reused enough times to minimize or negate many of the negative environmental effects identified at the upstream stage of the product lifecycle;
- measures in place or under development: Many of the negative effects identified in the SEA (e.g. effects on air quality, water quality, and terrestrial environmental quality) would be mitigated by existing or proposed environmental protection measures. For example, the Government of Canada announced, through its strengthened climate plan, its intention to develop new federal regulations to increase the number of landfills that collect and treat their methane.footnote 65 This would reduce methane emissions caused by paper bags that enter landfills;
- innovation and scaling up new technologies and business practices: Many of the negative environmental effects identified in the upstream stage could be mitigated or negated through more circular technologies and business practices, if adopted at scale. For example, the Government of Canada’s estimates on the short-term potential for the adoption of reuse systems for foodservice ware is relatively low, meaning businesses are expected to switch to single-use substitutes to the prohibited products. The Government of Canada could work with industry and other partners to innovate and promote scalable business models for adopting reusable and refillable substitutes, which could minimize or negate any negative environmental effects. These kinds of systems are beginning to be trialled in parts of Canada, such as a system being offered by a partnership between companies Loop and Loblawsfootnote 66 that provides consumers with reusable packaging for certain grocery items; and
- consumer education and promoting low-waste lifestyles: While the proposed Regulations would mandate performance standards for reusable checkout bags, cutlery and straws, some studies have shown that reusable products may not be used to their fullest extent by consumers (e.g. 15 to 20 uses rather than 100 or more uses).footnote 67 The Government of Canada will work with partners and stakeholders to educate consumers on the reuse potential of their reusable bags, cutlery and straws, as well as promote low-waste consumption behaviours more generally to encourage reuse. By increasing reuse, the environmental impacts of reusable products would be considerably reduced.
Other effects and conclusions
The SEA determined that the proposed Regulations would contribute to a number of goals outlined in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), including: Greening government, Clean growth, Healthy coasts and oceans, Pristine lakes and rivers, Healthy wildlife populations, Clean drinking water, Connecting Canadians with nature, and Safe and healthy communities. There would also be a contribution to many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals corresponding with each of these FSDS goals.
Given the mitigation and enhancement measures, the positive effects of the proposed Regulations are likely to be significant in terms of reduced plastic waste, reduced plastic pollution, and reduced threats of harm to wildlife, and greatly exceed any negative environmental effects.
Follow-up and monitoring
The Government of Canada will continue to draw from a range of evidence sources to monitor environmental effects and follow-up on the state of knowledge with regard to the relative environmental effects of SUPs and their substitutes. This will include
- developments in life cycle assessment: International organizations such as UNEP, as well as academics and practitioners of LCA, have highlighted the shortcomings of LCAs in analyzing downstream environmental effects, and some are beginning to propose standardized methods for assessing effects, such as those from marine litter. The Government of Canada will continue to monitor developments in this field;
- litter data: The Government of Canada will continue to draw from Canadian litter data as it becomes available from a range of sources, including shoreline cleanups and litter audits or surveys conducted by different jurisdictions; and
- science: The Government of Canada will continue to monitor the development of scientific understandings of the impacts of plastic pollution and other forms of pollution in the natural environment. This includes supporting science through Canada’s Plastics Science Agenda, which is meant to amplify the impact of Canadian plastics science by providing a framework that identifies gaps in current knowledge and the science needed to fill them, as well as policy-relevant areas of focus.
Gender-based analysis plus
A gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) was conducted for the proposed Regulations and it determined that, while the proposed Regulations would affect all Canadians to a certain extent, certain demographic groups may be disproportionately impacted. As a result, the Department determined that mitigation measures were needed in the proposed Regulations to abate these impacts.
People with physical, mental or age-related disabilities
The GBA+ analysis showed that certain people with disabilities require SUP flexible straws. SUP flexible straws may be repositioned, are lightweight, disposable and inexpensive. People with temporary, sporadic, or permanent disabilities often rely on SUP flexible straws with these characteristics to eat and drink safely. Specific groups that have identified this need via consultation processes include persons with age-related physical restrictions, arthritis, autoimmune disease, autism, cerebral palsy, dental and oral conditions, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, neurological disease, spinal cord injuries, and other illnesses and injuries, and persons who are recovering from a stroke or surgery.
Research shows that current substitutes for SUP flexible straws — including straws made from metal, silicone, glass, paper, bamboo, and pasta — do not meet accessibility needs. They cannot be repositioned and are not safe to use in cases of reduced mobility or impairment. They can pose choking hazards if the straw breaks (pasta, bamboo), may not be safe at high temperatures (metal, glass), are a food allergen risk (pasta), are not rigid enough (paper), or pose an injury risk (metal, glass). Reusable straw substitutes can also be difficult to clean and using one that has not been properly sanitized increases the risk of other health concerns, particularly for persons who are immunocompromised. A full prohibition without accommodations on SUP straws could create social barriers for people with disabilities in terms of fully participating in public life (e.g. going to restaurants). The proposed Regulations would therefore allow Canadians to purchase flexible straws in a pack of 20 or more in retail stores, which is in line with measures developed in other jurisdictions that restrict single-use plastic straws.
The prevalence of disability in Canada increases by age group, with almost half of those individuals aged 75 years and over identifying themselves as having a disability. Therefore, the intersection that exists between age and disability means that any policy affecting persons with disabilities will also have a disproportionate impact on seniors in Canada. This is especially notable given that Canada’s senior population is expected to increase by 68% over the next 20 years.
As noted in the ‘‘Benefits and costs’’ section, the proposed Regulations would result in costs to Canadians. These costs could be felt more acutely by Canadians living with low income and limited disposable income, as the cost of implementing the ban for retailers would likely be passed onto consumers through increased prices for food, beverage, and merchandise. Marginalized communities in Canada are particularly likely to be living with low income due to race, gender, age, and disability status and the intersectionality between these characteristics. The proposed Regulations may also impact individuals living with low income as a result of the loss of SUP checkout bags for secondary usage. The Department’s research and consultation process revealed that SUP checkout bags currently represent a cheaper substitute to garbage liners, dog waste bags and represent cost savings for people with low income. Individuals who live with low income and may not have access to a personal vehicle have also reported concerns about a ban on SUP checkout bags, as it may be more difficult to carry multiple reusable bags on public transport to get to the grocery store, versus individuals who are able to leave their bags in a car. Further, individuals experiencing homelessness may also reuse SUP checkout bags to carry their belongings, and as protective rain gear for their shoes and clothing. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income Canadians while also increasing the number of Canadians living in poverty. As a result, the impacts highlighted above will likely be felt by more Canadians now than they would have prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Women and single parents
The Department’s consultation process revealed that an indirect impact of the proposed Regulations could be increased time and labour required to prepare and clean up meals using reusable containers where the regulated SUPs could have previously been used and disposed of without cleaning, which may disproportionately impact women and single parents. In 2014, single-parent families in Canada accounted for 20% of families with children aged less than 16, and single mothers accounted for 80% of these parents.footnote 68 Further, qualitative research highlights “women’s retention of ultimate responsibility” for the coordination of children’s lives and the smooth functioning of the household;footnote 69 for example, women are more likely than men to be responsible for meal preparation in Canadian households.footnote 70 SUPs have allowed Canadian lifestyles to become increasingly convenience-based and removed some burden on Canadian women and single parents when preparing and cleaning up after meals for their households. Consequently, the proposed Regulations may cause women and single parents to clean a higher number of reusable substitutes. Impacts would be on time and labour, while disproportionate cost increases are not expected to be significant.
The GBA+ identified potential measures to mitigate negative impacts or enhance positive impacts. These include adapting prohibitions on SUP straws to allow people with disabilities to continue to purchase and use SUP flexible straws, and further educating Canadians on how they can reduce plastic waste in their daily lives and consumer choices. All of these recommendations have either been adopted (e.g. accommodations for SUP flexible straws) or are being explored further with partners and stakeholders.
Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards
The proposed Regulations would come into force as follows:
- for all SUPs, prohibition on manufacture and import for domestic consumption would come into force one year following the day on which the proposed Regulations are registered; and
- for all SUPs, except for straws, prohibition on sale would come into force two years following the day on which the proposed Regulations are registered. For SUP straws, prohibition on sale would come into force one year following the day on which the proposed Regulations are registered due to exemptions for the manufacture and import of flexible straws that are linked to conditions around where and how the straws are sold.
An intensive compliance promotion approach would be adopted by the Department within the first year after the registration of the proposed Regulations, to ensure their effective and efficient implementation. The Department would develop and distribute compliance promotion materials (e.g. a fact sheet or website material) to ensure that the regulated community is aware of the requirements within the proposed Regulations. Working relationships have been established with industry and industry associations involved in the manufacture, import and sale of products covered by the proposed Regulations. The Department would work with these organizations to ensure that the appropriate information is available to affected parties. As the regulated community becomes more familiar with the requirements of the proposed Regulations, these activities are expected to decline to a maintenance level.
The proposed Regulations would be made under CEPA, so enforcement officers would, when verifying compliance with the proposed Regulations, act in accordance with the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for CEPA,1999.
Verification of compliance with the proposed Regulations would include site visits, review of records, reusable product testing (if applicable), and review of written transit documents. Following an inspection or an investigation, if an enforcement officer discovers an alleged violation, the officer would choose the appropriate enforcement action based on the following factors, as outlined in the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for CEPA, 1999:
- Nature of the alleged violation: This includes consideration of the damage, the intent of the alleged violator, whether it is a repeat violation, and whether an attempt has been made to conceal information or otherwise subvert the objectives and requirements of CEPA;
- Effectiveness in achieving the desired result with the alleged violator: The desired result is compliance within the shortest possible time and with no further repetition of the violation. Factors to be considered include the violator’s history of compliance with CEPA, willingness to cooperate with enforcement officers, and evidence of corrective action already taken; and
- Consistency: Enforcement officers would consider how similar situations have been handled in determining the measures to be taken to enforce CEPA.
Subject to the enforcement officer’s discretion, the following responses are available to deal with alleged violations of CEPA and its regulations:
- ministerial orders;
- environmental protection compliance orders;
- detention orders for ships;
- environmental protection alternative measures; and
- court orders following convictions and civil suits by the Crown to recover costs.
More information on the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for CEPA (1999) is available on the Environment and Climate Change Canada website.
Performance measurement and evaluation
Performance measurement would evaluate how effective the proposed Regulations are at achieving their objective, which is to reduce plastic waste and prevent plastic pollution by eliminating or restricting six categories of SUP manufactured items that pose a threat to the environment and have significant barriers to end-of-life value recovery. Achieving this objective would contribute to the Government of Canada’s plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030.
Quantitative indicators and targets, where applicable, would be defined and developed as part of the implementation strategy for the proposed Regulations. Examples of performance indicators would include the following: regulatory requirements are understood by affected stakeholders; prohibited and restricted products are not being manufactured, imported, or sold unless an exemption applies. Information gathered from various sources, such as surveys, Canada Border Services Agency import and export data, and Statistics Canada data would provide the performance information necessary to measure the indicators.
In terms of gathering data to measure the effectiveness of the proposed Regulations at keeping prohibited and restricted SUPs out of the environment, the Department is developing a plastic pollution science framework that will, over time, improve the research and monitoring of plastic pollution in the environment. In the meantime, other sources of data, such as Canadian citizen science and civil society data on the SUPs most commonly found as litter on Canadian beaches and shorelines, as well as findings from waste audits, would be used to qualitatively assess this.
Once completed, the performance information collected would be summarized and reported on the Canada.ca website. Further, the Department would continue to report on the progress, performance, and overall effectiveness of the proposed Regulations in CEPA annual reports and departmental performance reports.
Regulatory Analysis and Valuation Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
200 Sacré-Cœur Boulevard
Plastics Regulatory Affairs Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 Saint-Joseph Boulevard
PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT
Notice is given, pursuant to subsection 332(1)footnote a of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999footnote b, that the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection 93(1) of that Act, proposes to make the annexed Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations.
Any person may, within 70 days after the date of publication of this notice, file with the Minister of the Environment comments with respect to the proposed Regulations or, within 60 days after the date of publication of this notice, file with that Minister a notice of objection requesting that a board of review be established under section 333 of that Act and stating the reasons for the objection. All comments and notices must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Tracey Spack, Director, Plastic Regulatory Affairs Division, Department of the Environment, 351 Saint-Joseph Boulevard, Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3 (email: email@example.com).
A person who provides information to the Minister may submit with the information a request for confidentiality under section 313 of that Act.
Ottawa, December 9, 2021
Acting Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council
Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations
1 The following definitions apply in these Regulations.
- single-use plastic checkout bag
- means a plastic manufactured item that is formed in the shape of a bag that is designed to carry purchased goods from a business and
- (a) is made from plastic film;
- (b) will break or tear if it is used to carry 10 kg over a distance of 53 m 100 times; or
- (c) will break or tear if it is washed in a washing machine in a wash cycle recommended by the manufacturer for washing cotton or linen. (sac d’emplettes en plastique à usage unique)
- single-use plastic cutlery
- means a plastic manufactured item that is formed in the shape of a fork, knife, spoon, spork or chopstick and that, after being immersed in water maintained at a temperature between 82°C and 86°C for 15 minutes, changes its shape. (ustensile en plastique à usage unique)
- single-use plastic flexible straw
- means a single-use plastic straw that has a corrugated section that allows the straw to bend and maintain its position at various angles. (paille flexible en plastique à usage unique)
- single-use plastic foodservice ware
- means a plastic manufactured item that
- (a) is formed in the shape of a clamshell container, lidded container, box, cup, plate or bowl;
- (b) is designed for serving or transporting food or beverage that is ready to be consumed without any further preparation; and
- (c) is made from expanded polystyrene, extruded polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, a plastic that contains a black pigment produced through the partial or incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons or a plastic that contains any additive that, through oxidation, leads to chemical decomposition or to the fragmentation of the plastic material into micro-fragments. (récipient alimentaire en plastique à usage unique)
- single-use plastic ring carrier
- means a plastic manufactured item that is formed in the shape of deformable container-surrounding bands and that is designed to be applied to beverage containers and selectively severed to produce packages of two or more beverage containers. (anneaux en plastique à usage unique pour emballage de boissons)
- single-use plastic stir stick
- means a plastic manufactured item that is designed to stir or mix beverages or to prevent a beverage from spilling from the lid of its container. (bâtonnet à mélanger en plastique à usage unique)
- single-use plastic straw
- means a plastic manufactured item that is formed in the shape of a drinking straw and that, after being immersed in water maintained at a temperature between 82°C and 86°C for 15 minutes, changes its shape. (paille en plastique à usage unique)
2 Subject to sections 6 and 7, these Regulations do not apply in respect of plastic manufactured items referred to in section 1 that are manufactured, imported or sold for the purposes of export.
Single-Use Plastic Straws
Prohibition — manufacture, import or sale
3 (1) Subject to subsections (2) to (6), a person must not manufacture, import or sell single-use plastic straws.
Exception — manufacture or import
(2) A person may manufacture or import single-use plastic flexible straws.
Exception — sale in certain settings
(3) A person may sell single-use plastic flexible straws in a non-commercial, non-industrial and non-institutional setting.
Exception — business to business sales
(4) A business may sell a package of 20 or more single-use plastic flexible straws to another business.
Exception — retail sales
- (5) A retail store may sell a package of 20 or more single-use plastic flexible straws to a customer if
- (a) the customer requests straws, and
- (b) the package is not displayed in a manner that permits the customer to view the package before purchasing it.
Exception — sale in care institutions
(6) A hospital, medical facility, long-term care facility or other care institution may sell single-use plastic flexible straws to patients or residents.
Other Plastic Manufactured Items
Prohibition — manufacture and import
4 (1) A person must not manufacture or import single-use plastic checkout bags, single-use plastic cutlery, single-use plastic foodservice ware, single-use plastic ring carriers or single-use plastic stir sticks.
Prohibition — sale
(2) A person must not sell single-use plastic checkout bags, single-use plastic cutlery, single-use plastic foodservice ware, single-use plastic ring carriers or single-use plastic stir sticks.
5 (1) Any analysis performed to determine for the purposes of these Regulations the physical characteristics of single-use plastic checkout bags, single-use plastic cutlery, single-use plastic flexible straws or single-use plastic straws must be performed by a laboratory that meets the following conditions at the time of the analysis:
- (a) it is accredited
- (i) under the International Organization for Standardization standard ISO/IEC 17025, entitled General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, by an accrediting body that is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Mutual Recognition Arrangement, or
- (ii) under the Environment Quality Act, CQLR, c. Q-2; and
- (b) subject to subsection (2), the scope of its accreditation includes the analysis of the physical characteristics of single-use plastic checkout bags, single-use plastic cutlery, single-use plastic flexible straws and single-use plastic straws.
Standards of good practice
(2) If no method has been recognized by a standards development organization in respect of the analysis performed to determine the physical characteristics of the plastic manufactured items referred to in subsection (1) and the scope of the laboratory’s accreditation does not therefore include that analysis, the analysis must be performed in accordance with standards of good scientific practice that are generally accepted at the time that it is performed.
Records — export
6 Any person that manufactures for the purpose of export or imports for the purpose of export a plastic manufactured item to which these Regulations apply must keep records containing the following information and documents for each type of plastic manufactured item that was manufactured for the purpose of export or imported for the purpose of export:
- (a) in the case of a person that manufactures for the purpose of export,
- (i) the common or generic name and the trade name, if any, of the item,
- (ii) the quantity of the item manufactured at each manufacturing facility,
- (iii) the date of manufacture of the item,
- (iv) the date the item was exported and the quantity exported or, if it has not yet been exported, the date on which it is intended to be exported and the quantity intended to be exported, and
- (v) the name of the entity, if any, to which the item is sold in Canada; and
- (b) in the case of a person that imports for the purpose of export,
- (i) the common or generic name and the trade name, if any, of the item,
- (ii) the quantity imported of the item,
- (iii) the date the item was imported,
- (iv) the copies of the bill of lading, invoice and all documents submitted to the Canada Border Services Agency respecting the import of the item,
- (v) the date the item was exported and the quantity exported or, if it has not yet been exported, the date on which it is intended to be exported and the quantity intended to be exported, and
- (vi) the name of the entity, if any, to which the item is sold in Canada for subsequent export.
Retention of records
7 (1) A person that is required to keep records under section 6 must keep the records at the person’s principal place of business in Canada or at any other place in Canada where they can be inspected, for at least five years after the date on which they are made. If the records are not kept at the person’s principal place of business, the person must provide the Minister with the civic address of the place where they are kept.
(2) If the records are moved, the person must notify the Minister in writing of the civic address in Canada of the new location within 30 days after the day of the move.
Related Amendment to the Regulations Designating Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999)
|38||Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations||
Coming into Force
9 (1) Subject to subsection (2), these Regulations come into force on the first anniversary of the day on which they are registered.
(2) Subsection 4(2) comes into force on the second anniversary of the day on which these Regulations are registered.