Today, Environmental Defence Canada revealed that the vast majority of plastic in Canada is actually not recycled, according to The Weather Network. In fact, a whopping 90% of the plastic in the country is not getting recycled. The organization does charity and advocacy work on environmental issues affecting Canadians.
The spokesperson from Environmental Defence has told The Weather Network that less than 11 percent of plastic in Canada actually gets recycled and the remaining 90 percent ends up "incinerated, or in our landfills, lakes, parks and oceans" and "once in the environment, plastic waste contaminates ecosystems, kill wildlife, and leach toxic chemicals".
"Something’s got to give – Canada needs to step up," Keith Brooks, program director at Environmental Defence, told The Weather Network. "We have been pushing the feds to come up with a strong national plan to deal with the 89 percent of plastic not being recycled in Canada each year".
Brooks added that there is currently no national recycling target in place. "There are no rules requiring or even encouraging plastic producers to use recycled plastic," said Brooks. "There are not even bans on hard-to-recycle or toxic plastics like styrofoam. Producers are allowed to put any kind of packaging onto the market, and municipalities have to figure out how to deal with it."
These statistics are absolutely crucial for people to be aware of. Many Canadians swim in the beautiful oceans and lakes of this country and this means that they could be swimming in potentially plastic-filled waters. Furthermore, when plastic waste infiltrates natural ecosystems, the wildlife becomes problematically exposed to it. This, in turn, affects all of the Canadians who interact with the exposed environment or consume local wildlife, particularly fish.
Plastic waste is also damaging to ecosystems and natural environments and can be life-threatening to the animals inhabiting them. There are many more reasons why plastic not getting recycled in Canada is highly detrimental.
So what measures can Canada take to reduce plastic waste in the country? Brooks is hoping that several measures will be addressed at the next meeting with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, taking place on November 23rd.
He proposes banning certain plastics, such as Styrofoam, implementing a national recycling target of at least 85 percent by 2025, and using legislation methods to help producers be more responsible in cleaning up their plastic products, according to The Weather Network.
You don't have to work for an environmental charity to positively impact the environment. There are several measures people can take to reduce plastic waste and they're not hard to do.
For instance, you can stop using plastic straws and buy a reusable straw. Getting a reusable bag for shopping instead of using plastic bags. Another easy method is to buy food in bulk and fill a reusable container – this helps save money, time and prevents unnecessary packaging.