Canada could start banning single-use plastics like grocery bags, straws, forks and knives as soon as 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.
The list of banned items has not been finalized but could contain many products that are commonly used by consumers today, like cotton swabs, plates, balloon sticks, fast food containers and cups, among others.
“We need to cover all of Canada with this decision and that’s why the federal government is moving forward on a science-based approach to establishing which harmful single-use plastics we will be eliminating as of 2021,” Trudeau said at the Gault Nature Reserve outside of Montreal.
Canada’s move comes on the heels of the European Parliament voting in March to ban single-use items like plastic cutlery, straws and stirrers along with other plastic items often found littering beaches and oceans.
In that measure, all European Union members are expected to enforce the ban by 2021 while making 90 percent of plastic bottles recyclable by 2029.
Trudeau said Canada will study the EU ban and its effects before finalizing its plan.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time to make sure we get this right because it is a big step but we know that we can do this by 2021,” Trudeau said.
Canada’s Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer blasted Trudeau’s announcement, claiming that his administration did not have any knowledge of how such a measure would harm the country’s economy.
“In the dying days of this government — with a scandal-plagued government, with a prime minister desperate to change the channel — we see another gesture without a plan without any kind of specifics about how this would be implemented or any kind of study on the impact on prices for consumers, on jobs, on how this would affect small businesses,” Scheer said in Ottawa.