Going Green: Who has made the switch in Canada and beyond?

 

Is the change from single-use plastics impossible? Take a look at some successful trailblazers to see.

 

How many times have you heard someone say “This tastes terrible…. try it!” 

Nobody wants to be the real-life guinea pig in an experiment. Across Canada, and around the world this year, it may feel like we are part of one experiment after another, from changing how we do routine essential errands, to changing the way we make our livelihoods. Putting all of the changes from the covid pandemic aside, the Canadian Government has plans for more changes coming at the end of 2021. Luckily, when it comes to altering behaviors and laws around plastic use, we have some brave communities that have already held their nose and swallowed the stinky pill.

Dozens of countries around the world have created either bans or taxes on single-use plastic bags, including the Netherlands, France, and China. With cleaning up oceans and coastlines as their driving force, our UK cousins also made first steps towards the same goals in 2015 with a 5 pence (around $0.08) levy on single-use plastic bags, bringing the purchase of them at supermarkets down 86%. This move was followed up last year with a ban on plastic straws, stir sticks, and cotton swabs. 

In 2018, New Zealand’s Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced the recommitment of 12 national and international companies to use 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging in their New Zealand operations by 2025, if not sooner. “We need to move to a circular economy by designing waste out of our economic system and creating and buying products designed to have a long life, which can be easily disassembled so they can be reused, recycled or composted.”

This wave of determination to reduce plastic waste is gaining momentum as it travels across the globe, with a view to someday becoming a plastic-free ocean tide. 

Within Canada, one by one, municipalities are choosing to make the switch too, paving the way for the Federal government’s proposed legislation changes. With the many inherent breakdowns and overwhelming backlog in synthetic plastic recycling, these among many other forward-thinking communities are supporting a system that embraces repair, reuse, recycling, and composting. Leaders in this charge span the country. From Ottawa, Sudbury, and the Niagra region in Ontario, up to Dawson City in Yukon Territory, down to Calgary, and recently, Edmonton, Alberta, just to name a few municipalities who have integrated both the necessary public education and complimentary collection of separate waste streams. Not only are these municipalities taking charge of the local recycling collection, but have also upgraded and created means for residents to move towards a more natural circular economy, in the form of industrial composting. This will make room for local businesses to smoothly make a transition in 2022, from fossil-based plastics to compostable bio-based plastics or paper products that will contribute to the production of usable, saleable compost. 

So, as we navigate this year, and move closer to the impending changes in regulations, we can find some comfort in successes that communities close to home have had, finding viable single-use plastic alternatives. 

 

Does your municipality switched over yet? Find composting resources in your area here.

For questions about products that support this movement towards compostablity, take a look at some of the options we offer here.

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