George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, has issued the following statement with respect to the Government of Canada’s announcement to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021:
“British Columbia welcomes news that the federal government is moving toward a strategy to reduce, better recycle and ban certain plastics. Reducing plastic waste must be a joint effort by all Canadians and all levels of government. I look forward to working with my federal, provincial and territorial counterparts to reduce plastic waste and to profile some of the good work already underway in our province.
“The major initiatives outlined in the federal announcement are already happening in B.C. For example, we lead the country with our Extended Producer Responsibility programs. B.C. is the only province in Canada where industry is 100% financially responsible for the collection and recycling of materials introduced into the marketplace.
“British Columbians lead the nation in recycling, served by 22 industry-led recycling programs. Every year, 315,000 tonnes of plastics are diverted from B.C.’s landfills to be recycled in B.C, which means the vast majority are not shipped elsewhere to be processed, and they no longer pose a threat to our environment, including our oceans and lakes.
“The federal announcement also spoke about orphaned fishing nets. Our government recently appointed Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo, as B.C.’s special advisor on marine-sourced plastics. She is reaching out to coastal communities to find solutions for the problems of derelict vessels, marine debris and marine-sourced plastics.
“At my request, staff in my ministry have been working to explore options to further prevent, reduce and recycle plastics so we can better protect B.C.’s marine and land environments. I am encouraged by the federal announcement and B.C. will continue to provide leadership that supports how our country can put ideas to action for the sake of our air, land, water and kids.”