Skip to content

The plastics picture: Which single-use plastics are we banning, and when?

OTTAWA — Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault is publishing new regulations this week to finally enact the government's long-promised ban on some single-use plastic items.

Here is a quick lowdown on what this means.

What is being banned? 

Checkout bags: Anything designed in the shape of a bag, intended to carry purchased goods from a business, and made in whole or in part from plastic. The ban will also apply to fabric bags that can't meet a stress test. That means they must be able to be washed without tearing or breaking, and must be able to carry at least 10 kilograms a distance of 53 metres, 100 times.

Cutlery: Plastic manufactured forks, knives, spoons, sporks and chopsticks, containing polystyrene or polyethylene, that cannot survive being run through a standard household dishwasher 100 times.

Takeout containers: Plastic or partially plastic (including those made from polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride, but not polyethylene) clamshell containers, lidded containers, boxes, cups, plates and bowls meant to carry ready-to-eat food or drink.

Straws: Drinking straws that contain polystyrene or polyethylene that can't survive being run through a household dishwasher 100 times. There are exceptions for single-use plastic bendy straws, to accommodate people with disabilities. Retailers, for example, can sell packages of 20 or more single-use plastic flexible straws if a customer requests them, and the packaging is not on display. There is also an exception being made for straws attached to juice boxes, which will be allowed for another two years.

Six-pack rings: Plastic, deformable rings or bands designed to carry multiple beverage cans or bottles together.

Stir-sticks: Sticks made partly or entirely from plastic, intended to either stir beverages or prevent them from being spilled out the lid of their container.

When does the ban take effect:

The import and manufacture for domestic purposes of five items on the list will be barred between Dec. 17-31, 2022. Six-pack rings get a reprieve until June 2023. (The final date depends on when the regulations are officially registered.)

The sale for domestic purposes of five of the items on the list will be barred between Dec. 17-31, 2023. Six-pack rings will be added to the sales ban on June 22, 2024.

The manufacture and sale of all six items for export purposes will be banned in December 2025.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June, 20, 2022.

The Canadian Press

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks