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Montreal to ban stores from dumping unsold food

Montreal is hoping to stop perfectly good food from ending up in landfills as part of a plan to significantly cut waste by targeting the source.

The city’s point person on the environment announced the proposed measures Thursday as part of a five-year master plan for waste management between 2020 and 2025.

Coun. Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, the executive committee member in charge of ecological transition, cited an urgency to act due to climate change and the fact that the city’s main dump is slated to shutter by 2029.

“The plan that we’re proposing today will enable us to achieve the ambitious targets that we set in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and managing residual material,” Lavigne Lalonde said.

It doesn’t make sense, she said, that perfectly consumable items end up in the trash while children and others go hungry.

“We will prohibit large grocery chains, educational institutions and hospitals from throwing away food they no longer think is fresh,” Lavigne Lalonde said.

Food waste is a widespread issue across the country: according to a study commissioned earlier this year by Toronto-based charity Second Harvest, one-third of Canada’s discarded food could be recovered.

Quebec already has a supermarket recovery program in place that some stores take part in, sending food to various shelters. Lavigne Lalonde said the city wants to work with the province to ensure such programs are expanded.

The move is the latest in Montreal’s attempts to reduce its waste–and by extension, its carbon footprint. In April, the city announced it would introduce a bylaw banning single-use items such as plastics and polystyrene foam containers by spring 2020–promising a slow transition to allow businesses to make the switch.

In 2018, it issued a ban on plastic bags that covers the distribution of lightweight bags with a thickness of less than 50 microns as well as biodegradable bags, which contain an additive that causes them to decompose in heat and light.

Lavigne Lalonde said the goal is to make it easier for citizens to reduce their waste.

Parenteau said food sellers could be subject to yet-to-be determined fines if they violate the new rules.

He pointed to France, where laws obliges grocery stores to donate edible food and levies hefty fines if they don’t, but added in Montreal, that’s not the main goal of the law.

“The first goal is not to fine, but to change the mentality,” Parenteau said.

A public consultation will be held on the plan, but the city’s objectives are to divert up to 70% of residual waste away from landfills by 2025 and 85% by 2030.

In that time, the city wants to reduce the amount of waste produced by each Montrealer by 10% in 2025 and 20% in 2030–which works out to 10 kilograms per citizen per year.


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Convenience stores could benefit from e-cigarette ban, say analysts

A growing move to ban flavoured e-cigarettes due to health concerns particularly in youth could actually benefit convenience stores in the long run, say retail analysts.

“We believe the FDA’s plan to remove mint/menthol e-cig flavours (in addition to all other non- tobacco flavours) would without question encourage a return to combustible cigarettes,” Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo Securities wrote in a report after conducting a survey of retailers.

A large majority of retailers surveyed believe the removal of e-cigarettes would migrate smokers to combustible cigarettes that represent a larger portion of convenience store sales.

One-third of retailers surveyed also expect mint and menthol smokers would switch to combustible cigarettes because those consumers tend to want to stick with menthol products.

Almost half of the retailers believe the removal of flavoured e-cigarettes won’t help to reduce youth usage as kids likely move to the black market. Yet some 40% of retailers say they are seeing some deceleration in Juul sales and nearly 20% are seeing more combustible cigarette sales as news reports increase about health issues with vaping.

Some U.S. states are moving to ban or curtail vaping but Herzog said she is “cautiously optimistic” that a complete ban on e-cigarette flavours will be imposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

In Canada, the country’s public health officer said last week at least three reports of potential vaping-related illnesses were being investigated.

Quebec health officials confirmed Friday the province’s first case of severe pulmonary illness linked to vaping. That followed a report from the Middlesex-London Health Unit that a teen from London, Ont., who was using e-cigarettes daily, suffered a severe case of pulmonary illness, the first confirmed case of vaping-related lung disease in Canada.

Herzoz added that 67% of retailers believe the removal of e-cigarette flavours would increase the competitive advantage of IQOS, a heat-not-burn cigarette alternative made by Philip Morris International that has received FDA premarket approval.

Even if e-cigarettes aren’t banned outright, large convenience store chains such as Alimentation Couche-Tard would be helped in the long-term by increased regulations of e-cigarettes because they have the ability to absorb the additional costs, wrote RBC Capital Markets analyst Irene Nattel in a report.

“Given cost of compliance/administrative burden associated with regulated products…we’d expect chains with financial flexibility to gain share over time, not unlike what happened to breweries during the last century,” she wrote.

Tobacco represents about 38% of merchandise store sales at convenience stores and about 40.5% at Couche-Tard, Nattel said. However, electronic devices represent less than 25% of other tobacco products, which account for less than 20% of tobacco sales

Couche-Tard CEO Brian Hannasch said that while these products aren’t currently “material” to its revenues, the Quebec-based retailer hopes they remain available for adults to give smokers “an avenue of lower risk as they pursue nicotine.”

The company only sells closed vaping systems that already contain liquid, instead of ones that allow consumers to use their own liquids.

“We know there’s demand there but if flavours are attracting children we’re OK with it going away,” he told The Canadian Press after its recent annual meeting. “It’s the right thing for society and we just want it to be done on a thoughtful fashion and based on facts.”

 


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Nova Scotia to ban most single use plastic bags at store checkouts

shutterstock_1250226013e-360x240Nova Scotia plans to join a number of other Canadian provinces in moving to ban most single-use plastic bags at store checkouts.

The province’s majority Liberal government introduced the bill to ban the bags Thursday as the legislature session opened.

After it is proclaimed, the government said, industry will have one year to prepare before the bags are prohibited.

Environment Minister Gordon Wilson said he’s introducing the bill in the hope of removing millions of bags from the waste stream each year.

“It’s going to change the way Nova Scotians go to grocery stores,” he said after announcing the bill.

He added the bill is a signal the province is willing to consider the banning of other plastic items, such as single-use cutlery and straws.

“This legislation is an important piece that will help us move forward,” the minister said.

Under the proposed law, retailers would still be allowed to use single-use plastic bags for live fish and bulk items. There would also be exemptions for food banks and charities.

There is not a requirement under the act to charge a fee for alternatives to plastic bags, leaving the choice to retailers.

The director of the Ecology Action Centre, the province’s largest environmental advocacy group, welcomed the legislation, noting retailers and other provinces have already begun moving in this direction.

“Atlantic Canadian provinces probably appreciate more the impacts of plastics, particularly in our oceans,” Mark Butler said.

He noted that plastic bags are a relatively small proportion of the waste stream but they have a large impact on wildlife in the province.

“We look forward to the public and the government identifying other single-use items we don’t need to use.”

While many Canadian municipalities have banned single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and other retail outlets, provincewide bans are less common and more recent.

Manitoba’s government has promised consultations on moving toward a ban of single-use plastic bags. A ban in Prince Edward Island went into effect in July, and Newfoundland and Labrador introduced legislation to ban the bags last April.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in June that the federal government was starting regulatory work to ban harmful single-use plastics.

Retailers including the Sobeys chain have already promised to eliminate single-use bags.

One expert said the banning of plastic bags pleases consumers, but it’s not enough to effect real environmental change.

“Banning plastic bags is just a distraction – the real problem is food packaging. But at least governments are doing something about it,” said Sylvain Charlebois, director of the agrifood analytics lab at Dalhousie University.

“For Nova Scotia, the announcement is quite timely given the climate strike happening (Friday). My expectation will be to see all provinces make a similar announcement by June of next year.”

Charlebois said for further progress, stores also need to look at biodegradable and compostable solutions, while governments should fund research that will increase the use of green packaging solutions.

Jim Cormier, a spokesman for the Retail Council of Canada, said “overall, retailers are happy with this approach.”

He said having a single system in each province is the best scenario for grocery chains and other retailers, rather than a patchwork of municipal rules.

 


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Health organizations call for end to promotion of vaping products

Federal officials have to act right away to avoid further risks of serious illness from vaping, eight Canadian health organizations said Sept 19.

The groups are asking for an interim order from Health Canada to curb the marketing of vaping products, restrict the flavours available and regulate their nicotine levels.

Vaping products, the organizations say, should be treated the same way as tobacco products.

“Youth vaping has become a public-health crisis,” Dr. Sandy Buchman, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said at a news conference in Ottawa.

Thursday’s call comes after news of a serious vaping-related illness in London, Ont., as well as hundreds of cases in the United States, including seven deaths reportedly linked to vaping. Authorities are still struggling to determine what exactly has made vapers sick.

And on Thursday, Health Canada issued a statement advising vapers again to monitor themselves for coughs, shortness of breath or chest pain and to seek medical attention if they are concerned.

The coalition of health groups said an interim order would allow the government to put in place regulations for up to 12 months while permanent versions were drafted.

“Wasting time on this can only increase the risks to Canadians,” Buchman said.

The organizations are asking for all federal parties to commit to issuing such an order within 60 days of forming government after the Oct. 21 election.

The group includes the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Lung Association, Coalition quebecoise pour le controle du tabac, Heart & Stroke, Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.

The organizations recommended restrictions on advertising similar to those on ordinary tobacco, a ban on most or all flavoured products, and a nicotine restriction of 20 mg/ml of vaping fluid in line with European Union standards.

The groups shied away from calling for a full ban on vaping products, instead focusing on the surging rate of vaping among younger Canadians.

A survey done for Health Canada and published this year found that one-fifth of high school aged students reported using vaping products, as well as one-seventh of children aged 13 and 14.

Cynthia Callard, the executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, said vaping products have changed to become more addictive, attractive and accessible to youth.

“In short, tobacco companies are hooking kids on vape products in the same ways they used to hook their parents and grandparents on cigarettes,” Callard said.

Imperial Tobacco Canada issued a statement saying the solution to recent health concerns over vaping was “enforcement of existing restrictions on sales to youth and prohibitions on flavours appealing to youth” as well as regulations ensuring higher product quality and safety.

David Hammond, a professor at the University of Waterloo who has studied vaping in Canada, said the statement from the health groups emphasizes a consensus that “something has to be done” on vaping, especially on advertising, flavours and access for youth.

He said vaping can clearly be harmful, though less harmful than smoking, which is not saying much, he added.

Still, Hammond said there is some room for vaping as a means of helping people quit smoking.

“Can they help people quit? Yes. Are they an absolute game-changer? Not right now,” he said.

There is no doubt that the rate of vaping in Canada has increased “on every measure,” Hammond said.

He noted that legislation allowing the sale of vaping products coincided with the entrance of the company Juul into the market. That company “changed the chemistry to make it easier, more palatable to inhale very high levels of nicotine,” he said.

At the same time, the Canadian government “clearly opened (the door) too wide for advertising and promotion,” especially to younger Canadians, Hammond said.

He said restrictions on advertising, on at least some flavours and on sales were a good place to start, but cautioned that vaping will be a tough challenge for governments.

“These are here to stay,” he said, flagging the vaping of cannabis as the next issue.

Juliet Guichon, a professor at the University of Calgary, echoed the view that Canadian legislation does not address youth vaping with enough seriousness.

“I think (the government) didn’t realize at the time what was going to happen,” she said.

She floated a few ways of reducing vaping among minors, including requiring retailers to ask for identification from purchasers, and potentially raising the age required to buy vaping products to 21.

On Sept. 18, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said Health Canada would look at several kinds of regulations for vaping, but had not yet committed to any changes.


Mint, menthol: Vape industry has dug heels in on flavour bans

Efforts to ban flavoured e-cigarettes and reduce their appeal to youngsters in the United States have sputtered under industry pressure in over a half-dozen states this year even as one state, Michigan, moves ahead with its own restrictions and President Donald Trump promises federal ones.

In many cases, the fight by the industry and its lobbyists has focused on leaving the most popular flavours – mint and its close cousin, menthol – alone. But public health experts say that all flavours should be banned, and that menthol can still hook kids on vaping.

The proposal Trump outlined Sept. 11, which would supersede any state inaction, includes a ban on mint and menthol, and an industry giant quickly indicated it would capitulate.

“We strongly agree with the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavoured products,” read a statement released by Juul Labs Inc. “We will fully comply with the final FDA policy when effective.”

But the fight in state legislatures has been fierce. Lobbyists for the vaping and tobacco industry fought bans on flavours in Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Massachusetts, New York, Maine and Connecticut.

Such bans failed or stalled, even as Michigan’s governor this month ordered emergency rules prohibiting flavoured e-cigarettes. New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed a desire to ban flavoured e-cigarettes.

Trump’s federal proposal, as it stands, would require no congressional approval, meaning lobbying efforts to defeat it could be less effective than in state legislatures. Juul spent $1.9 million in the first half of the year to try and sway the White House, Congress and the Food and Drug Administration.

The Vapor Technology Association has reported spending $78,000 this year in its lobbying fight against California’s proposed flavoured e-cigarettes ban, while one of the world’s largest tobacco producers, Altria, reported spending over $100,000 last fall solely to lobby such legislation. The bills have since stalled.

Reynolds American, which sells Vuse Alto e-cigarettes, reported spending $240,000 on paid lobbyists in New York this year. At least $23,000 alone went to fund their lobbying push against a flavoured tobacco ban that failed to pass this year.

Altria, which is also Juul’s biggest investor, also spent over $70,000 in Maine alone this spring on an online social media and email campaign in its efforts to defeat a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes and all tobacco products, according to lobbying reports filed with state ethics officials. Maine still has no flavour ban.

The global e-cigarette and vape market was valued at as much as $11 billion in 2018. The rise in teen vaping has been driven mainly by flavoured cartridge-based products such as Juul, which controls roughly three-quarters of the U.S. e-cigarettes market.

The proposals and the lobbying fight come as health authorities investigate hundreds of breathing illnesses reported in people who have used e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. No single device, ingredient or additive has been identified, though many cases involve marijuana vaping.

Supporters of flavours argue that adult cigarette users say flavours helped them quit, and that legislators should instead focus on companies that are trying to hook young nonsmokers with clearly kid-friendly marketing and packaging.

“One of the things that we are finding is that state legislatures are reflexively reacting to media stories and without a scientific basis making determinations that flavours are the problem so we need to get rid of all the flavours,” said Tony Abboud, president of the Vapor Technology Association.

There had been concern that the tobacco and vaping industries were winning their fight to keep at least the most popular flavours _ mint and menthol _ in play. That concern has now been tempered by Trump’s announcement that his ban would include menthol and mint.

Last November, the FDA announced plans for a crackdown that could lead to federal regulators pulling all e-cigarette flavours besides menthol and mint – thought to be useful to adult smokers – from shelves. The FDA also said it would also seek to ban menthol cigarettes.

The FDA’s announcement came just two days after Juul announced the halting of in-store sales of mango, fruit, creme and cucumber flavours in retail stores.

The company’s CEO has said that Juul never intended for young people to use their products but that they are “sensitive” to concerns raised by the FDA.

And a spokesman for Juul, Ted Kwong, said before the announcement by Trump that the company would support an outright ban on flavours that mimic kid candies, foods and drinks.

Still, in line with the FDA’s proposed policy, Juul Labs still distributes mint, menthol and tobacco flavours in retail stores. The company also sells flavoured products through its website.

Anti-tobacco and -vaping groups say there’s no scientific basis for leaving menthol or mint alone. They warn menthol has been unethically marketed toward African Americans, and that such flavours can still increase the appeal of e-cigarettes for young people who aren’t smokers by overcoming the harshness of nicotine.

“Anything that is overcoming the harshness of tobacco flavouring is something that kids are going to find more appealing,” said Hillary Schneider, director of government relations in Maine for the American Cancer Society Action Network.

But banning minty flavours has been politically contentious.

In Maine, convenience store owners upset by a proposed flavour ban argued that mint, wintergreen and menthol represent 30% of flavours offered in stores statewide and $32 million in tax revenue.

Lawmakers then considered a tweak to only allow menthol, mint and wintergreen flavours. Maine ended up passing a bill _ backed by the tobacco and vaping industries, as well as small retail stores _ that instead makes it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to people under 21 and give them to minors under 16.

Officials in Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration discussed exempting mint and menthol flavours from the e-cigarette ban, but “determined that the action taken was the best path forward to protect youth,” said Bob Wheaton, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services.

A court challenge is expected for Michigan’s ban.

Abboud argued before Trump’s decision that states should hold off on further action for now.


B.C. wants feedback on plans to ban, reduce and recycle plastics

The British Columbia government is proposing action on reducing plastic pollution and is asking for the public’s input in an online survey.

Environment Minister George Heyman says the message from residents is clear that action is needed to reduce plastic waste, especially single-use items like water bottles and plastic bags, to prevent them from finding their ways into the environment.

The considerations include bans on single-use packaging, requiring producers to take responsibility for more of their plastic products and expanding the deposit-refund system to cover all beverage containers.

Brock Macdonald, CEO of the Recycling Council of British Columbia, says the provincial system is already the envy of North America and by bringing industry to the table and extending producer responsibility, recycling can become even more efficient.

The mayors of Victoria, Tofino, Squamish and Rossland, communities that have all made strides to reduce the use of such plastic items, issued a joint statement saying they’re pleased the province has launched the consultation process.

The B.C. Court of Appeal tossed out Victoria’s ban on single-use plastic bags earlier this month, saying such a ban would require approval from the Ministry of Environment.


Single-use plastics ban poses challenge for Canada’s fossil fuel sector

The oil industry’s next threat could be in the grocery aisle.

A worldwide movement to limit single-use plastics in food packaging poses a challenge for Canada’s fossil fuel sector, at the same time that large companies struggle with volatile prices, pipeline constraints and the global rise of electric vehicles.

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Photo: Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would join other countries and ban as early as 2021 a range of everyday plastics that are frequently discarded after a single use, including forks and knives, shopping bags and stir sticks.

The move is part of wider efforts by the Liberal government to improve Canada’s dismal recycling rates and reduce pollution, just five months shy of a federal election in which the environment and climate change promise to be major issues.

The proposed ban would align with European Union regulations on single-use plastics, and a global push that some analysts and energy companies say has major implications for global oil demand and industry revenues.

The oil industry supplies chemical manufacturers with the building blocks needed to make resins that are used to create plastic products. Globally, petrochemicals account for the single-largest contributor to oil-demand growth out to 2040, according to the International Energy Agency.

This year, British oil giant BP PLC estimated that a hypothetical global ban on single-use plastics could shave about three million barrels a day from demand forecasts. That compares with current world demand of roughly 100 million barrels daily.

“That doesn’t sound like a big number, but it’s not insignificant, particularly when you start to look at that as a percentage of oil-demand growth. It’s not nothing,” said Katherine Spector, a research scholar studying the issue at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy in New York City.

To be sure, data are spotty about how much plastic winds up in single-use items versus durable goods such as cars. It’s also difficult to assess long-term impacts of new restrictions. And it can be hard to accurately define single-use plastics.

Moreover, a global ban is far from reality, and effects could be muted over time. “I do not consider that a big drop in demand over that time frame,” said Jackie Forrest, an analyst at ARC Energy Research in Calgary.

But forecasts of rising oil demand to make plastics may also butt up against shifting consumer tastes.

In a sign of shifting behaviour, a recent public-opinion poll by Dalhousie University said one in two Canadians actively shop for greener packaging options, although few are willing to pay a premium.

The lobby group for Canada’s oil producers declined comment on the impact of the measure. The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, whose members include Imperial Oil Ltd., Inter Pipeline Ltd. and the Canadian arm of Dow Chemical, said it does not support bans of any kind.

Environmental groups applauded Canada’s proposed ban on single-use items, as well as the pledge to make companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging pay for collection and recycling of their waste.

Ottawa said it would conduct a scientific assessment to determine specific items to prohibit and could also adopt policies requiring products to contain a set amount of recycled content, or be capable of being recycled or repaired.

Even as restrictions mount, companies are committing to new investments. In December, 2017, Inter Pipeline announced plans to build a $3.5-billion plastics plant in Northern Alberta to take advantage of provincial subsidies.

“We don’t support bans that aren’t based or rooted in science,” said Isabelle Des Chênes, executive vice-president of the Chemistry Industry Association.

Chelsea Rochman, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s department of ecology and evolutionary biology, said there is no question that single-use plastics harm wildlife as they break down in the environment, with potentially toxic effects.

“There’s no doubt that there is exposure and that these animals are eating the microplastics,” she said.


What will the plastics ban mean for foodservice?

recycling-takeout-containersA national ban on the most harmful single-use plastics will very likely force foodservice operators, restaurants and fast-food outlets to find non-plastic materials for takeout and delivery containers but plastic bottles for water and soda are more likely to be improved rather than phased out.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week his government is starting the regulatory work to ban toxic single-use plastics because the garbage infiltrating the world’s waterways is out of hand.

“As parents, we’re at a point where we take our kids to the beach and we have to search out a patch of sand that isn’t littered with straws, Styrofoam or bottles,” he said. “That’s a problem, one that we have to do something about.”

Nothing is going to be banned overnight, with the process to implement a federal ban or limitations on a product under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act usually taking two to four years. The goal is to make decisions on everything on the list by 2021.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time to make sure we get it absolutely right because this is a big step but we know that we can do this by 2021,” Trudeau said.

The process includes an assessment of each product, a proposed regulation, a public comment period, and then the final decision by cabinet.

Trudeau said Canada’s plan will “closely mirror” that of Europe. In March, the European Parliament agreed that by 2021 the European Union will ban almost a dozen single-use products including plastic plates, cutlery, cups, straws, plastic sticks in cotton swabs, balloon sticks and stir sticks, and Styrofoam cups and take-out food containers. Oxo-degradeable plastics including plastic grocery bags, which break down into tiny pieces with exposure to air but never fully disappear, are also to be banned.

Plastic beverage bottles won’t be banned in Europe but the EU will require them to contain a minimum of 30% recycled material by 2030, and a collection rate for recycling or reuse of 90% by 2029. Europe is putting new onus on producers of plastics to ensure they are recycled or reused, including the makers of fishing nets, which are among the most prevalent plastics trapping fish and polluting water bodies.

An official at Environment Canada, speaking anonymously because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, said Canada’s focus will be on banning things that are the most harmful, or the hardest to recycle. Everything will be run through a full scientific assessment as well as a socio-economic-impact review before any proposals for bans or regulations of materials are made, he said. There may be some exceptions to bans if certain uses of products are critical or irreplaceable, he said.

Styrofoam take-out containers are among the products most likely to be banned in Canada. While restaurants favour them because they’re cheap, lightweight and good for hot or cold food, there are already a number of alternatives. Styrofoam containers are also among the worst for the environment; they break down into tiny little pieces that are easily ingested by fish, animals and ultimately humans.

Plastic straws are already on their way out by restaurants’ choice, but will almost certainly be covered by the Canadian ban nonetheless. A high-profile campaign against plastic straws last year drove numerous multi-national food and beverage companies, including A&W and Starbucks, to replace plastic straws with paper versions, and many restaurants just stopped automatically putting straws in drinks as a first step.

Plastic bottles, however, are unlikely to make the list of banned products. The official said bottles are an area where Canada could require a greater amount of recycled material, and set national targets so 90 to 100% of them are collected for recycling. All of that would trigger provincial and municipal governments to up their recycling games.

Canada currently throws out 12 times the plastic it recycles, and there are only about a dozen domestic recycling plants. Requiring more recycled content in bottles or other plastic products would create a larger market for recycled plastic material that would in turn, spur economic activity in the sector and an explosion in the number of sorting and recycling plants.

A recent report done by Deloitte and ChemInfo Services for Environment and Climate Change Canada found a 90% plastics recycling rate in Canada could create 42,000 jobs.

Environment groups were cautiously optimistic about the announcement Monday, saying they want to see the follow-through but noting the best way to reduce plastic garbage is to reduce the plastic we produce and use to begin with.

“I think we are generally satisfied,” said Vito Buonsante, plastics program manager for Environmental Defence.

Sarah King, head of the oceans and plastics campaign at Greenpeace Canada, called it a good first step.

NDP MP Gord Johns, whose motion calling for a national strategy to combat plastic pollution passed with unanimous support in December, said the Liberals’ move is a good beginning but it is not a full strategy to get to zero plastic waste.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer shrugged it off as another empty announcement devoid of specifics and without any information on the implications for prices for consumers or for jobs in the plastics industry.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is also leery of the proposals, with president Dan Kelly asking for a “thorough economic impact assessment” before anything is banned.

“It would be irresponsible to put such a sweeping measure into place without fully studying the possible impacts on Canada’s small businesses first,” said Kelly. “There is no reason why sound environmental policy and economic development can’t go hand in hand.”

 


7-Eleven’s parent company to ban plastic bags

Seven & i Holdings will stop giving customers disposable plastic shopping bags by 2030.

The Japan-based parent company of 7-Eleven Inc. is making the move as part of its plan to reduce plastic waste, according to NHK World Japan.

The disposable plastic bags will be replaced by paper or other plant-based bags. In addition, the retailer plans to reduce its plastic use from the current level by more than half by 2030, and to zero by 2050, by using paper and recycled material for food packaging, the report added.

According to the company’s website, Seven & i Group promotes the reduced use of disposable plastic bags by asking customers whether they need a bag at the register, displaying posters and point-of-purchase signs, and holding events to encourage customers to bring their own shopping bags when shopping at stores.

In addition, its superstore banner Ito-Yokado Co. Ltd. has already discontinued the free distribution of plastic bags on the food floors of all its stores. Its supermarket banner York-Benimaru Co. Ltd. has followed suit at around 90 percent of its stores.

Its convenience store banner, Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd. is working to introduce biomass polyethylene shopping bags.

Tokyo-based Seven & i Holdings is a group companies centering on a wide variety of business operations, including convenience stores, superstores, department stores, supermarkets, specialty stores and food services.

Its subsidiary, Irving-based 7-Eleven Inc., operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 67,000 stores in 17 countries, including 11,800 in North America.