Plastic Nation: Canada can be a leader in stopping the plastic disaster | Oceana Canada

New report by Oceana Canada calls on the government to ban harmful single-use plastic.

Plastic in the ocean is not a Canadian problem. This is a commonly heard refrain when we talk about the massive amounts of plastic waste choking our oceans and the animals that call them home.

A new report from Oceana Canada shows that while Canadians make up less than 0.5 per cent of the global population, we use 1.4 per cent of all plastics produced. Canada uses 4.6 million metric tonnes of plastics every year (which includes industrial, commercial and institutional plastic) — that’s roughly 125 kilograms per person. It is predicted that by 2030, that number will grow to more than six million metric tonnes.

And the more we use, the more we throw away. Each year, approximately 70 per cent of the plastic we consume – 3.3 million tonnes – is trashed. Almost half of that is from single-use packaging.

Recycling is not a viable solution. Shockingly, 87 per cent of the plastic waste we discard, and generally think is being recycled, ends up in landfills and the environment. According to recent Abacus Data polling, most Canadians – 93 per cent – are “upset, disappointed, angry and/or surprised” to learn that only nine per cent of plastic ever produced has been recycled.

On top of this, between 1988 – 2016 Canada exported roughly four million tonnes of plastic waste – the weight of about 800 blue whales per year – mostly to countries in Asia that are ill-equipped to handle it and are now refusing it. Exporting plastic waste to other countries and shifting responsibility is unethical, expensive, irresponsible and doesn’t even scratch the surface of solving this massive problem.

The good news? Canada has an opportunity to show leadership in ending the global plastic disaster. By acting on its commitment to ban harmful and unnecessary single-use plastics by 2021, the government can help turn the tide on this massive environmental crisis.

That is why Oceana Canada has launched Drowning in Plastic: Ending Canada’s contribution to the global plastic disaster, a report that outlines what the government must to do to end the plastic disaster.

Canada boasts the world’s longest coastline, touching three oceans and putting us in a unique position to stop the flow of harmful single-use plastics into our oceans. We have a national and global responsibility – and a real opportunity – to show leadership and provide Canadians with what they want: plastic-free choices.

Canada needs to move away from our current wasteful system where half the time plastic that is made to last forever is created, used once and then immediately disposed of.

Join us and more than 100,000 others in urging the Canadian government to act now and fulfill its commitment to ban unnecessary single-use plastics.

To learn more, download the full report at: oceana.ca/en/DrowninginPlastic.