PLASTICS BAN 2021: How to Rise to the Challenge


“Well, THAT was easy!!”

…Said no one ever, when running a business in 2021. When you own a business, you have to be innovative, nimble, and determined. In every crisis, there have been companies who have found amazing opportunities to thrive, and this year will be an exceptional year to prove this out. To keep your business going during a global pandemic, with an impending plastics ban, you also need to know your challenges, develop a finely tuned plan, and secure the right set of tools to make it all happen. Where to start?

Legislation changes that will impact your business

On October 7th, 2020, the Federal government announced the rollout of a plastics ban, stemming from a 2019 campaign promise. We know, we know, another government-imposed restriction and we are all tired of it. But these particular regulations, which will fall under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (one of our main laws for protecting the environment), are to be finalized by the end of 2021. The aim of this push is to safeguard the wildlife in our oceans and waterways and to clean up enduring synthetic plastics across our parks, streets, and beaches. This ban, which is part of the larger plan to have zero plastic waste by 2030, will include:

  • plastic bags
  • straws
  • stir sticks
  • six-pack rings
  • cutlery
  • and hard-to-recycle take out containers

Globally, more than 35 countries have banned plastics, including the U.K., and France. Countries like Bangladesh and Kenya have also joined the movement, with the latter enforcing penalties of tens of thousands of dollars or jail time for the production, distribution, or use of plastic bags. Executed properly, this ban has the potential to bring forth a positive impact. But executed poorly and we could cause more problems than we started with. Here lies yet another opportunity for business growth. Hold tight we’ll explain.

Trends that have made our government take note

It isn’t only the government who is pushing this agenda. Canadians couldn’t help but sit up and pay attention as coverage on climate change and Greta Thunberg’s #FridaysForFuture strike and subsequent international tour took center stage. Since then, social media has taken up the torch, developing a new passion and awareness for everyone from environment activists to backyard compost enthusiasts. We see a huge rise in health and lifestyle influencers promoting environmental practices, inspiring the average consumer to make more conscientious choices in the brands and items they support. This movement continues to gain momentum even during a global pandemic. Canadians have continued to show support of removing single-use plastics from production. 

How will this affect my business?

With more details to be released by the end of this year, preparations need to be made to adjust to the new guidelines. Ultimately, if single-use plastics are part of your business’s operations, the good news is that viable alternatives already exist. Sourcing and ordering from reputable suppliers can take time, but starting the process now will ensure that you aren’t left scrambling for options once the ban is in place. Compostable packaging has moved to the forefront of available options, that can smoothly fit, hand-in-glove, into the gap left with the plastics ban. We can help answer your questions, and introduce compostable packaging and its environmental benefits.

Where will this lead?

Beyond this initial plastics ban, the government plans to make companies manufacturing or selling plastic products and packaging responsible for their plastic waste. These regulations will have a Canadian-wide target, to ensure that rules are consistent and transparent across the country. Development in this area will be in conjunction with provincial leaders, with an eye towards building a more circular economy. 

Further Steps

So many businesses are already feeling the pressure of ensuring customer confidence through the storm of a pandemic.  If you’re feeling daunted with yet another piece of legislation coming down, this may be a pivotal moment for your business to rise up and join this environmental movement. An eco-friendly switch shows your customers your environmental commitment and creates a rebranding opportunity, further cementing their loyalty. We can help to showcase your support of sustainability while preparing your business to smoothly move into the future. 

In the weeks to come, we’ll expand on these opportunities and give you more insight into the “how” when it comes to leveraging this change as a marketing and customer loyalty tool. So for today, the biggest takeaway to remember is to not stress about yet another change that will impact your business because there is an alternative that is genuinely better for everyone. By embracing compostables you will have a safe solution for everyone, without having to dramatically change your process or costs.

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