Nova Scotia’s long-awaited plastic bag ban comes into effect today, exactly one year after the Plastic Bags Reduction Act was passed. Ecology Action Centre is celebrating the ban on plastic bags and hopes that momentum on the subject will continue, resulting in further action taken to reduce single-use plastic in the province.
It is estimated that only about 10-12% of plastic is recycled in Canada. The rest goes to landfills, is burned or ends up in the environment – emphasizing the urgent need to address single-use plastic and plastic pollution overall.
“The plastic bag ban is a great first step, and we’re overjoyed to see it finally be implemented,” says Marla MacLeod, Director of Programs at EAC. “We agree with banning single-use plastics, but it’s also important to recognize that it’s only one part of the solution. The ban only regulates plastic bags used by retailers and does not apply to other single-use plastic at this time.”
Comprehensive action is needed to effectively reduce plastic pollution in Nova Scotia and Canada. This includes implementing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which would make manufacturers responsible for the lifetime of the products they produce and would help make it easier for consumers to avoid single-use plastics. EAC wants to see the implementation of EPR to ensure companies are taking on their fair share of the issue, thereby taking pressure off of consumers.
“We hope this ban is the first of many actions taken by government to address the issue of plastic pollution and its effects on our environment,” says MacLeod. “This is definitely a moment for celebration, but further action is needed to reduce the amount of plastic produced, or plastics will continue to be an environmental problem. It doesn’t stop with a plastic bag ban. We need to look at EPR and start re-thinking our entire relationship with plastic.”