Media Releases Oct 07, 2020

Single-use plastic reduction a good idea, but it won’t make any difference without critical infrastructure behind it: Canadian Chamber of Commerce

(OTTAWA) – October 7, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Senior Director of Natural Resources and Sustainable Growth, Dr. Aaron Henry, issued the following statement today regarding today’s announcement of the government’s intention to phase out single-use plastics:

“Canadian businesses recognize the significant benefits of alternatives to single-use plastics and the importance of bolstering Canada’s circular economy.

However, Canada’s approach must go beyond surface issues, like bans, to address the critical infrastructure required to deliver on the positive benefits for the environment. The significant shortfalls in waste facility capacity, recycling capacity and compostable plastics production need to be addressed, and quickly.

Though we think this is a positive direction, there is a need to address the elephant in the room. A key part of establishing a circular economy is to have clear and consistent frameworks for extended producer responsibility, a policy approach where producers are given a significant responsibility – financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products. At present, it remains unclear how this policy will address the current fragmented approaches to disposing consumer products. Without improvements, this policy will result in avoidable higher costs to meet different provincial regulations.

Canadian businesses want to collaborate with governments on policies that will scale waste and recycling facility capacity. By developing an approach to build the important infrastructure needed to make Canada greener, we can help our country develop a real circular economy that will improve, rather than hinder, our competitiveness. There is a way for Canada to eliminate single-use plastics, but businesses expect government to ensure these issues are addressed before the policy goes into force.

The fluid nature of the pandemic has taught us all that every day, and every dollar, can make the difference between a business staying open and closing its doors for good. Today’s announcement will make little progress in advancing Canada’s circular economy but will add significant costs to small businesses at a time when they are already struggling to survive the economic impact of COVID-19.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

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Phil Taylor