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Canada Launches Two Consultations on Zero Plastic Waste

Published on
April 19, 2023

Yesterday afternoon, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced two documents in support of its zero plastic waste agenda and launched associated public consultations that seek feedback from stakeholders regarding Canada’s approach to reducing and managing plastic pollution. These documents build on findings made in two previous consultations hosted by ECCC in July 2022.

The two documents are:

1. A regulatory framework to serve as the starting point for the Recycled Content and Labelling for Plastic Products Regulations.

2. A technical paper that outlines the reporting requirements for the Federal Plastics Registry.

Details on the new consultations announced today are described below.

Recycled Content and Rules for Recyclability and Compostability Labelling: Regulatory Framework Paper

This document outlines a regulatory framework for plastic packaging and certain single-use plastics that includes recycled content requirements and labelling rules for recyclability and compostability. It is intended to provide an updated and more detailed overview of the regulatory approach the Government is proposing for the draft regulations, which are currently under development.

The Government of Canada is proposing new mandatory labelling rules for recyclability and compostability to help ensure Canadian consumers have access to accurate information about how plastics products are managed. Additionally, the new proposed requirements for minimum recycled content in certain types of plastic packaging would help support stronger and more reliable end markets for recycled plastics, drive improvements in recycling systems and product design, reduce emissions, and promote a circular economy.

The proposed rules include:

· A prohibition of the chasing-arrows symbol and other recyclability claims on plastic packaging and single use plastics, unless 80 per cent of Canadians in a province/territory have access to recycling systems that accept, sort, and process these plastics.  

· A prohibition of the use of terms such as “degradable” or “biodegradable” in labelling of plastic packaging and single-use items

· Minimum standards for products to be labelled “compostable”

· Requirements for minimum recycled content in certain types of plastics packaging

Federal Plastics Registry for Producers of Plastic Products: Technical Paper

To track Canada’s progress in achieving zero plastic waste by 2030, ECCC will establish a Federal Plastics Registry to be able to track plastics in the Canadian economy. Specifically, ECCC proposes that the Federal Plastics Registry will:

· Require annual reporting of plastics placed on the Canadian market and how these products are managed at end-of-life

· Collect and publish data on the entire lifecycle of plastics in Canada

The Government of Canada is considering requiring producers to report data on all major categories of plastic products, covering the majority of all plastics placed on the Canadian market. These categories include packaging, construction, automotive, white goods (e.g. home appliances), electronic and electrical equipment, textiles, and agriculture.

Next Steps

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the Regulatory Framework for Recycled Content and Recyclability and Compostability Labelling Rules, as well as the Technical Paper on the Federal Plastics Registry, by May 18, 2023. Comments can be submitted to plastiques-plastics@ec.gc.ca.

After reviewing feedback from stakeholders, ECCC aims to publish both a draft Recycled Content and Labelling for Plastic Products Regulations and a draft information-gathering notice for the federal plastics registry before the end of 2023.

Happy to Help  

Sussex has been actively involved in Canada’s approach to reducing and managing plastics pollution. We would be happy to assist clients in submitting feedback through the new consultations, as well as in providing strategic counsel on how to respond and shape the plastics discussion in Canada.

Christina Marciano, Vice President & Environment Practice Lead


Teodora Durca, Research Associate, Environment Practice


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