Canada’s proposed new plastics ban is “a positive step” for waste reduction, according to the territory’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).

On Dec. 22, Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced a ban on several plastic products, including single-use plastic bags, six pack rings and plastic cutlery, which will come into effect by the end of 2022. Exceptions will be made for plastic products being manufactured for export, and for products designed for those with disabilities and other medical needs.

ENR Spokesperson Amy Kennedy says the department is still reviewing the draft guidelines. However, she says the department is confident the ban will help to reduce the manufacture of wasteful products, which is the cornerstone of the territory’s waste management strategy. “Regulating these materials at the federal level is the most effective and efficient way to address these pervasive materials,” she says.

Kennedy also says once the ban comes into force, the territory will be able to devote more resources to addressing other materials like oil and electronic products.

Although plastic bags are not banned in the NWT, for more than a decade consumers have had to pay a 25 cent fee for each bag, which goes to the GNWT’s Environment Fund. The territory has also had a beverage container recycling program since 2005.

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