Canada reducing (but not banning) use of plastics at G7 in Quebec

Greenpeace unfurls giant plastic bag on Parliament Hill, calls for ban on single-use plastics.

The federal government is reducing, but not banning outright, the use of single-use plastics at the G7 summit this week in Quebec.

Thousands of politicians, staffers, security officers, special interest groups and journalists are descending on Quebec City and Charlevoix, Quebec and they all need to be fed, watered and housed for several days.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants the other leaders to sign on to a zero-waste plastics charter, setting international deadlines for eliminating plastic waste and committing to helping the developing world meet similar deadlines.

As a result, there is an attempt to make the summit a low-plastics waste event but not a zero-plastics waste event.

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Summit management office spokeswoman Jessica Seguin says plastics will be reduced as much as possible on the various sites associated with the summit, including the host hotel where the meetings will take place and the media centre in Quebec City.

There is a priority on using reusable dishes when possible and any disposable containers or cutlery will be compostable.

Single-use plastic water bottles will largely be replaced with reusable ones or boxed Tetra Paks and plastic stir straws are being replaced with bamboo versions.

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Greenpeace Canada says the plastic pollution crisis has hit an epidemic level and Canada already produces more garbage per capita than any other developed country.

On Thursday morning, Greenpeace activists unfurled a giant, white plastic bag across the street from Parliament Hill. It read “ban single-use plastics.”

“We want Trudeau and the other G7 leaders to know that in order to get to the real heart of the problem with plastic pollution they really need to address it at the source, and one way to do that is to ban single-use plastics,” said Greenpeace Canada plastics campaigner Farrah Khan.

“We know that recycling doesn’t work. In Canada, only 10 to 12 per cent of our plastics are being recycled. The rest is going to landfill or is incinerated or it’s ending up in the environment … the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic enters the ocean every single minute.”

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An estimated 480-billion plastic water bottles are purchased around the world each year and as many as one-trillion plastic bags.

Fewer than one-tenth of them are recycled.

-With files from Global News

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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