Canada proposes mandatory labelling requirements for plastic products and recycled content

The Government of Canada announced today a new series of measures aimed at preventing plastic pollution and improving how plastics are made, used and managed, including the launch of consultations into proposed new labelling rules for products, requirements for recycled content in plastic packaging, and for reporting requirements for a planned plastics registry.

According to the government’s statement announcing the new initiatives, the new rules come as Canadians throw away 4.4 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, with only 9% recycled.

One of the issues identified by the government challenging the sustainable disposal of plastics is the labelling of many products with the “chasing-arrows symbol” or as “biodegradable” that cannot be recycled or composted in local waste management systems.

Under the proposed rules, the use of the chasing-arrows symbol and other recyclability claims on plastic packaging and single-use plastics would be prohibited unless 80% of people in a province or territory have access to recycling systems that accept, sort, and re-process these plastics. The rules would also prohibit the use of terms including “degradable” or “biodegradable” in the labelling of plastic packaging and single-use items, and would set minimum standards for labelling of products as compostable.

The proposals also include requirements for minimum recycled content in certain types of plastic packaging, which the government said will help support stronger and more reliable end markets for recycled plastics, with benefits including improved recycling systems, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and the promotion of a circular economy for plastics.

The plastics registry would help track plastics in the economy, with annual reporting requirements for plastics placed on the Canadian market, including how they are managed at the end of their lives, and the publication of data on the lifecycle of plastics in Canada.

About the Authors

Associate Director, Investment Banking

Prachurjya has over 16 years of experience in investment banking with Acuity Knowledge Partners. At Acuity, he has led sector and product-specialist pilot teams across Capital Markets, ESG, Debt Advisory, Loan Syndications, Metals & Mining and Real Estate. He has been actively involved in setting up and on-boarding new ESG Advisory, ESG DCM and Sustainable Finance teams for various bulge bracket investment banks. Within DCM and Rating Advisory, he has been instrumental in helping the clients achieve over 30% in annual savings on both regular and adhoc tasks through standardization of the outputs and deployment of our proprietary BEAT tools.

Delivery Manager, Investment Banking

Puja has 6 years of extensive experience in ESG, Climate Change & Sustainability and she is supervising the ESG team at Acuity. She also has diverse experience in conducting ESIA, EHS compliance audits, ESG Risks and Controls, EHS & ESG Due Diligence assessments. Prior to joining Acuity, she was working with companies like KPMG Global Services, EY India and ERM India. She has expertise in provisioning extensive research requirements for clients through preparation of Peer Benchmarking, Target Compilation, Sustainability report, Sustainable Finance Updates and Sectoral ESG Thematic Detailing Engagement.

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