Single-use plastics ban ignores a larger problem: carbon emissions

single use plastics

The Liberals’ single-use plastics ban is set to take effect next year, including items like takeout containers, plastic cutlery, and straws. There’s no doubt this is a positive step forward from an environmentalism standpoint, but the ban ignores a much greater problem: Canada’s carbon emissions.

Single-use plastics end up in our oceans and are responsible for destroying both habitats and the animals in them. It’s a triumph to see them banned, but we shouldn’t celebrate just yet.

Carbon emissions are largely to blame for the greenhouse effect. While banning single-use plastics will help the environment, it won’t stop the climate crisis. If Canada wants to make significant strides for saving our planet, it needs to crack down on the big corporations most responsible for these emissions.

Let’s not forget the pipeline expansion Trudeau approved last year. The Liberal government likes to tout how pro-environmentalist it is, yet hasn’t actually put its money where its mouth is. Banning these plastics is only a small success in a much larger issue, one Canada has failed to fully tackle.

It’s also important to note the negative impact the ban might have on the hospitality industry, especially given how much businesses have suffered during the pandemic. The government should ensure the transition to plastic alternatives is as seamless as possible.

This is also yet another example of Canada focusing on individual contributions to the climate crisis, rather than focusing on the big players that need reform the most.

That said, the effect on businesses doesn’t negate the fact that this a step in the right direction, even if it’s only a band-aid solution.

From a young age, we’ve been taught to reduce, reuse, and recycle. For the most part, we’ve stuck to the latter two. What we really need if we hope to stop an environmental doomsday is to reduce—not just single-use plastics, but the main culprit of the climate crisis: carbon emissions.

Our government needs to outline a detailed plan regarding Canada’s next steps in fighting the climate crisis. The single-use plastics ban might be a short-term win, but we still have a long way to go to save our environment.

Canada has folded under the pressure of large corporations for long enough; now it needs to enact significant reform to reduce our country’s emissions once and for all.

—Journal Editorial Board

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