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Canada launches two consultations on plastic recyclability, compostability, and tracking

Published on
July 25, 2022

This morning, the Hon. Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, announced the next steps in the federal government’s plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. Minister Guilbeault launched two new consultations that will inform how the government will reduce plastic waste and pollution:

  1. Develop rules for recyclability and compostability labelling
  2. Establish a federal plastics registry for producers of plastic products

Each consultation includes a discussion paper which can be viewed here and here, respectively. Interested stakeholders are welcome to provide comment on the discussion papers until October 7, 2022.

Develop rules for recyclability and compostability labelling

The Government of Canada has committed to introducing labelling rules that prohibit the use of the chasing-arrows symbol on plastic products unless 80 per cent of Canada’s recycling facilities accept and have reliable end markets for these products. The intent of the labelling rules is to improve plastic packaging design, improve public participation in recycling systems, reinforce public trust in recycling, and improve the performance of recycling systems to generate more and higher-quality post-consumer recycled plastics.

In addition, the Government is proposing to introduce rules to regulate the use of terms such as “compostable”, “degradable” or “biodegradable” in the labelling of plastic packaging and single-use items.

The proposed labelling regulation would also include rules requiring minimum levels of recycled plastic in certain products. The Government publicly consulted on recycled content requirements earlier this year. A draft regulation is targeted for publication as early as mid-2023.

Establish a federal plastics registry for producers of plastic products

The Government of Canada has committed to supporting provincial and territorial extended producer responsibility (EPR) efforts by establishing a federal plastics registry and requiring producers to report on plastics in the Canadian economy. The intent of a federal plastics registry is to support the adoption of EPR rules in Canada that are consistent, comprehensive, and transparent.

Happy to help.

The Sussex team continues to closely track all developments regarding the federal government’s plastic waste agenda. Please reach out to the Environment Practice Group, the Federal Practice Group, or your Sussex advisor if you have any questions or for more information.

Christina Marciano, Vice President, Environment

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