Canadian Manufacturing

Canadians share their views on plastics labelling and tracking plastic products nationally

by CM staff   

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In 2018, Canadians threw away 4.4 million tonnes of plastic waste, only 8 per cent of which was recycled.

OTTAWA — The Government of Canada released a report on what it heard from two public consultations focused on developing rules for recyclability and composability labelling and establishing a federal plastics registry for the plastic products industry.

From July 25, 2022, to October 7, 2022, the Government asked Canadians, stakeholders, industry, and provincial, territorial and local governments to share their views on new labelling rules that would better inform consumers and strengthen recycling and composting of plastics in Canada. The Government also sought views on developing a registry for producers to report on the plastics they put into the economy.

“Far too many plastics end up in our landfills, our waterways, on our streets, and in our environment. We must find a way to keep plastics in our economy, instead of in our waste,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “That means strengthening recycling and other systems to keep plastics in circulation, and helping consumers better understand the impact of the plastics they are buying. We need clearer labelling, better data collection, and enhanced rules for responsible supply chains, and producers that are consistent, comprehensive, and transparent. Together, these tools will help Canada make measurable progress toward zero plastic waste.”

New labelling rules are being developed that would prohibit the use of the circular three-arrow symbol (often referred to as the chasing-arrows symbol) and other recyclability claims on plastic packaging and single-use plastics unless specific conditions are met. These conditions may include that at least 80 per cent of Canadians have access to recycling systems that accept, sort, and re-process these plastics.


In addition, new rules are being considered to control the use of terms such as “compostable”, “degradable”, or “biodegradable” in the labelling of plastic packaging and single-use plastic items. The labelling rules would be part of new regulations that would also require minimum levels of recycled plastic in certain products.

The Government is establishing a federal plastics registry that would require annual reporting of plastics in the Canadian economy and how these products are managed at the end of their lives. The registry would also collect and publish data for Canadians on the entire life cycle of plastics in Canada.

The Government intends to publish a proposed framework for the recycled content and labelling regulations later this year, which will be available for public consultation. Comments received on this framework will inform the proposed regulations that are targeted for publication before the end of the year.


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