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Provinces agree on national zero plastic waste plan

Jun. 27, 2019

The federal, provincial and territorial governments have agreed on a list of measures that could reduce plastic pollution, but a detailed action plan is still to come.

After a day of meetings in Halifax on Thursday, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment released the first phase of a plan for zero plastic waste, listing extended producer responsibility (EPR) as a top priority.

The plan says that EPR, which holds companies accountable for the end-of-life management of plastics they produce, is “one of the most effective mechanisms for diverting plastic waste.”

Federal environment minister Catherine McKenna said she was happy that environment ministers from the provinces and territories agreed to work on the six priorities listed in the national plan, but it would “take time” to negotiate the implementation.

Details for the action items are due to come out gradually, with completion dates ranging from December 2019 to 2022. When those details are released, the plan says, they’ll be made available for application “at the discretion of jurisdictions.”

Speaking briefly to reporters after the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) meeting, McKenna said “our goal always is to work the provinces and hopefully they will step up.”

“Whether it’s tackling climate change or tackling plastic pollution, the federal government certainly can’t do it alone and plastic pollution doesn’t know any borders and we hope they do step up.”

McKenna did not stay for a press conference Thursday afternoon where seven provincial ministers spoke about their commitment to the zero plastic waste plan.

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