Our Shared Mission
The federal government has designated plastic manufactured items as a Schedule 1 toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). The label is not only scientifically inaccurate but could have far-reaching and unintended consequences. The Coalition opposes the designation of any plastic manufactured items as toxic and believes that the federal government, along with industry and stakeholders throughout the value chain, must work together to innovate and implement tools that will solve the problems of plastic waste.
A toxic designation will not result in the outcome Canadians deserve, which is zero plastic waste. Today in Canada, nearly 80 percent of all post-consumer plastics end up in landfills. The federal government’s approach does not recognize, nor address, the loss of a valuable resource: insufficient recycling infrastructure and human behavior.
The toxic substances list includes substances like asbestos and lead; clearly plastic doesn’t belong on this list. Canadians rely on plastic to sustain everyday life – from the delivery of safe drinking water, to eyeglasses, to protective equipment, to healthcare products, to medical devices, to computers and phones.
In addition, RPUC believes there are legal concerns stemming from the federal government not following the proper process they have outlined in CEPA to list a substance as toxic. Fundamentally, the issue of post-consumer plastic in the environment is a waste management and recycling issue – a matter of provincial jurisdiction. To that end, the federal government is using an inappropriate tool to implement far-reaching reforms in an area it does not have jurisdiction.
This approach will set us further back environmentally and make it more difficult to advance a circular economy. In fact, most plastic alternatives are worse for the environment when looking at the full lifecycle (also known as cradle to grave analysis) of the item. Lifecycle analyses consistently demonstrate that the environmental footprint of alternative materials are up to 4X greater in nearly every application and that they create significantly more waste – both from an environmental footprint and carbon impact perspective.
Did You Know?
*Source: Economic study of the Canadian plastic industry, markets and waste. Environment and Climate Change Canada. Retrieved from: https://www.google.com/url?q=http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.871296/publication.html&source=gmail&ust=1620856877535000&usg=AFQjCNFJXvTS4bOiLlts5ZSmnT2exAXKJQ