Statement by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada on Canada Gazette II Order regarding “plastic manufactured items”
May 12, 2021
The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) expressed disappointment with the Government of Canada’s move today to list all plastic manufactured items on Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).
We remain concerned that today’s decision sends the wrong message to global chemistry investors, namely that Canada is ambivalent about the enormous investment prospects for the circular economy for plastics.
“Let us be clear, one piece of plastic waste in the environment is one too many,” said Elena Mantagaris, Vice–President of Chemistry Industry Association of Canada’s (CIAC) Plastics Division. “This is why Canada’s plastics industry is committed to solving the plastic waste problem and has set a goal to make 100 per cent of plastic packaging recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and embracing advanced recycling technologies to make plastics packaging 100 per cent recovered and recycled by 2040.
“By making plastics completely recyclable and transforming waste into new plastic items and other products, we can help Canada realize its goal of zero plastic waste.”
While the government has exercised its authorities, CIAC is disappointed that safe inert plastic materials that play such important roles in Canadians lives are being labelled as toxic substances. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada heard clearly from the industry, and a broad cross-section of other industries where plastics play an important role, that such a move would do little to keep post-consumer plastics out of the environment.
CIAC continues to believe that CEPA is not an appropriate legislative instrument for managing post-consumer plastics. This is why we are advocating instead for a national circular economy framework that includes six strategic areas of focus to build a circular economy for plastics in Canada. These are:
- Product design
- Increase access to recycling and collection
- Improve sortation capabilities
- Strengthen mechanical and advanced recycling capabilities
- Grow and expand end-markets
- Engage and educate consumers
We will continue to work with the federal government to understand the scope of impacts on businesses stemming from regulations expected later this year. Our attention remains firmly focused on working with the provinces to advance extended producer responsibility initiatives coast to coast and creating more enabling policy and investment environments to support a circular economy for plastics.