On May 12, 2021, the National Observer reported on the Canadian federal government’s announcement of the addition of “plastic manufactured items” as toxic substances under Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Less than 10% of the 3.3 million metric tons of plastic thrown away annually in Canada is recycled. The Canadian government previously announced its intention to develop a plan for zero plastic waste by 2030 (FPF reported), and a plastics pact was recently launched in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (FPF reported). Including plastics into CEPA is a legally important step that requires the government to take action on toxic substances and enables further regulatory discussions and developments.

“Adding plastic manufactured items to Schedule 1 of (CEPA) will help us move forward on our comprehensive plan to keep plastics in the economy and out of the environment,” said Moira Kelly, press secretary to the country’s Environment Minister. “It will allow us to implement our proposed ban of certain harmful single-use plastics, make producers responsible for their plastic waste, and introduce recycled content standards.” The move is being welcomed with enthusiastic support from non-governmental organizations such as Oceana, but with concern from plastics manufacturers such as those represented by the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

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National Observer (May 14, 2021). “Canada just listed plastic as toxic. Now what?

National Observer (May 13, 2021). “Canada officially tosses plastic in the ‘toxic’ bin.”


Government of Canada (April 23, 2021). “Order Adding a Toxic Substance to Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999: SOR/2021-86.”