❌Learn all about the plastic ban in Canada and the US

The Government of Canada has started to roll out the ban on single use plastic products.

There is no doubt that this will trigger a lot of shifts across a range of major industries. 

Announced in 2022, not long after state regulations on plastic bags increased in the US, in 2021, North America is making some big strides to a much more eco-conscious approach to business and life. 

As businesses in Canada also serve the US market, it’s important to understand the plastic ban across borders to ensure adapting can be a seamless process. 

Banned Single-Use Plastics in Canada

In Canada, the import, export and sale are banned for the following products by the end of 2025.

  • Plastic check out bags
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Plastic food packaging containing problematic plastics
  • Plastic ring beverage carriers
  • Plastic stirring sticks
  • Plastic straws
Example of plastic packaging
Source: PakFactory

Problematic plastics include expanded or extruded:

  • Polystyrene
  • Polyvinyl
  • Chloride
  • Oxo degradable plastic
  • Carbon black plastic

Make sure to follow the Technical Guidelines to ensure your packaging materials are adhering. 

The Stages of the Canadian Plastic Ban

The ban will take effect in stages to ensure all businesses and corporations have fair time to adjust to regulations. 

Source: PakFactory

Please refer to the technical guidance document frequently to keep up to date with upcoming dates.

The Exceptions of the Canadian Plastic Ban

The new regulations have still made notable exceptions to the following products: 

  • Waste and bags for containing waste: things like plastic garbage and compost bags are still eligible for sale as they are considered essential. 
  • Products in transit: Plastic manufactured items that are in transit from one destination, through Canada to the final shipping destination are also considered exempt. 
  • Single-use straws for essential needs: Plastic straws are still eligible for distribution in stores and health care facilities for accessibility. 

Banned Plastics in the United States

Some states in the US are introducing recycling infrastructure, while others are imposing bans and fines to discourage the use of plastic bags altogether.

Unlike Canada, the US is currently focused on reducing the use of single use plastic bags.

Source: PakFactory

The States that are actively banning the use of plastic bags state wide are:

  • California
  • New York
  • Hawaii 

However, about 300 municipalities across the U.S. have introduced regulations, bans, or fees on plastic bags.

To keep up to date on plastic bag bans in the US visit this interactive map.

The Exceptions of the US Plastic Bag Bans

Depending on the state, some plastic bags may be considered exempt from the ban. 

Plastic bags which are constructed of thicker, stronger plastic may be considered reusable and may be considered exempt in some areas.

The Effects of Plastic Bans in North America

The ban of single use plastics in both Canada and the US will promote a lot of change in packaging solutions across several industries including:

  • Food
  • Restaurant
  • Retail 
  • Ecommerce

The regulations introduced in Canada are part of a bigger initiative to eliminate the flow of plastic waste by 2030.

Businesses in the US and Canada operating in brick and mortar locations like retail stores and restaurants will need to make swift adjustments and opt for eco friendly alternatives. 

Example of eco friendly restaurant packaging
Source: PakFactory

The packaging industry will also be adjusting and innovating new eco-friendly solutions to serve the Canadian and US markets more effectively. 

Both markets have already experienced somewhat of a shift to eco-friendly packaging alternatives with more businesses taking more corporate responsibility in sustainability missions. 

Eco-Friendly Packaging Alternatives

There are already a range of alternatives to plastic on the market widely used by a range of different industries.

Popularized by businesses with a mission for environmental responsibility, eco-friendly alternatives have worked their way into the mainstream of packaging. 

Eco-friendly plastic alternatives that are accepted in the midst of these bans include:  

Final Thoughts

Although single-use plastic alternatives come with their own set of drawbacks, the alternatives outweigh the long-term effects that single-use plastics have on the environment.

With the growing momentum of plastic bans in North America, preparing to make the switch to alternatives sooner will put your business at an advantage in the realm of bigger sustainability initiatives. 

There are several effective alternative options to replace single-use plastic bags that are accepted under local bans and regulations.

Contact our product specialists to discuss eco-friendly alternatives for your packaging!

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