Canada contributes disproportionately to this growing disaster. Each year Canada introduces millions of tonnes of plastics into the domestic market, using more than 125 kilograms per person. Most of our plastic waste—87 per cent—ends up in landfills or the environment.
Just nine per cent of our blue box and industrial plastics end up being recycled. Packaging makes up almost half of this waste, and the COVID-19 crisis is making things worse, driving up the use of plastic containers for take-out food, as well as disposable masks and gloves.
Recycling single-use plastics is expensive and countries like Canada have offloaded the problem to other countries. Until recently, much of our plastic waste was sold overseas. Over the last 30 years Canada has exported roughly four million tonnes of plastic waste, mostly to countries in Asia that are ill-equipped to handle it.
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