Canada’s single-use plastics ban starts this month

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Canada’s ban on single-use plastics, starting with the manufacture and import for sale of a number of products, comes into effect later this month.

The prohibition on several categories of plastics will begin Dec. 20, affecting a range of products from checkout bags and cutlery to takeout containers and stir sticks. A ban on the sale of these products will start in December 2023.

The federal government had initially planned to start the ban by the end of 2021 but delayed it to 2022. The regulations were published in June.

The move is part of an effort by the federal government to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030, citing the impact that plastics have had on the environment through pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are the products that will be subject to Canada’s single-use plastics ban starting Dec. 20:


Checkout bags made entirely or in part from plastic and used to carry purchased goods from a business will be subject to the Dec. 20 ban on manufacture and import for sale.

The ban also includes fabric bags that cannot meet a stress test, meaning they can’t break or tear if carrying 10 kilograms over a distance of 53 metres, 100 times, or when washed.


The ban on cutlery includes single-use plastic knives, forks, spoons, sporks and chopsticks that contain either polystyrene or polyethylene, or that change their physical properties when run through a household dishwasher 100 times.


The prohibition includes clamshell containers, lidded containers, boxes, cups, plates and bowls made entirely or in part from plastic and designed for serving or transporting ready-to-eat food or beverages.

These products will be subject to the ban if they contain: expanded or extruded polystyrene foam, the latter commonly referred to as Styrofoam; polyvinyl chloride, often used in salad containers; carbon black or black plastic food containers that usually come with a transparent lid; or oxo-degradable plastic.


All types of plastic stir sticks, designed to mix beverages or prevent them from spilling from a lid, will be banned under the federal government’s current regulations.


The prohibition will include straight plastic drinking straws and flexible straws that are packaged together with beverage containers, such as juice boxes and pouches.

Straws that contain polystyrene or polyethylene, or which can’t be run through a dishwasher 100 times, are subject to the ban.

Single-use plastic flexible straws, not packaged with a beverage container, are excluded under certain conditions, such as to accommodate people with disabilities.

A retail store, for example, may sell a package of 20 or more single-use plastic flexible straws if a customer asks and the package is not displayed publicly. Retailers may also sell beverage containers with a flexible plastic straw for another two years.


The manufacture and import for sale in Canada of the five categories of single-use plastics comes into effect on Dec. 20.

A ban on the sale of these products will begin the following year by Dec. 20, 2023, while a prohibition on the manufacture, import and sale for export of these plastics will come into effect on Dec. 20, 2025.

A prohibition on the manufacture and import for sale in Canada of ring carriers or six-pack rings, used to carry aluminum cans and plastic bottles, will begin on June 20, 2023. Their sale will be banned by June 20, 2024, while their manufacture, import and sale for export will be prohibited starting Dec. 20, 2025.

With files from The Canadian Press 


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