The plastic ban has begun! Get ready to see more sustainable packaging on campus this year.

On December 20, 2022, the Government of Canada banned the manufacture and import of sale for six types of single-use plastics:

  1. Checkout bags
  2. Cutlery
  3. Foodservice ware made from or containing problematic plastics that are hard to recycle
  4. Ring carriers
  5. Stir sticks
  6. Straws (except for flexible straws for medical and accessibility needs)

These plastic-based items were selected since there is evidence that they are often not recycled, have readily available alternatives, and contribute to the degradation of our natural environment. This decision is a part of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s comprehensive plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. Removing and replacing these plastics could reduce carbon emissions by 1.8 megatonnes annually, generate billions of dollars in revenue, and create thousands of new jobs by 2030.

Another component of this plan is transitioning from a linear economy to a circular economy. 

A linear economy is a “take-make-dispose” system that maximizes production and consumption using new non-renewable resources. In this system, natural resources are used to make plastic but are often not properly recycled or composted, leading to plastics being buried or burned. While consumers may only have hours with a plastic product, the harmful environmental impacts could be felt for hundreds of years.

A circular economy differs because it works to maintain the added value of resources while eliminating waste as best as possible. This ban captures the first stage: eliminating unnecessary or challenging to recycle/compost plastic and securing sustainable alternatives. Then plastic products are reused as much as possible before being recycled into new products. With this system in place, no plastic should end up in the environment, landfill, or incinerator.

In other words, a linear economy comes before the concept of sustainability, while a circular economy is based on sustainability practices.

The move towards a circular economy will be a steady process where measures are implemented gradually: starting with control measures and ending with establishing preventive practices. The decision to phase out non-recycled plastics is an exciting step to a brighter tomorrow.

By managing our shared resources responsibly, we can move towards healthier and more resilient communities for this generation and generations to come!


ECCC. (2021, July 12). Canada is one step closer to zero plastic waste by 2030. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from

ECCC. (2022, June 20). Government of Canada delivers on its commitment to ban harmful single-use plastics. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from

Payne, J., McKeown, P., & Jones, M. D. (2019). A circular economy approach to plastic waste. Polymer Degradation and Stability165, 170-181.

Monday, January 16, 2023 in
Share: Twitter, Facebook