A coalition of plastics companies has sued to block Canada's ban on six single-use plastic products, challenging Ottawa's decision to declare them "toxic" and prohibit them.
Responsible Plastic Use Coalition, which includes some of North America's largest resin makers and processors, is asking a federal court to quash the ban, which was announced June 20, and order the government to convene a scientific panel to review the decision.
"There is no credible evidence that any of the [plastics] are 'toxic,'" RPUC said in its lawsuit. "The [ban] was made despite a paucity of facts and evidentiary support about the nature and extent of the environmental contamination and harm arising from the SUPs [single-use plastics]."
But Steven Guilbeault, the minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, said in an Aug. 9 statement that he expects the government to prevail in the lawsuit, which is testing the ministry's 2021 decision to label plastics manufactured products "toxic" so they could be regulated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
"While a handful of plastic companies try to stop our ban on harmful single-use plastics, we are going to keep fighting for the clean, healthy environment Canadians deserve," Guilbeault said. "We're going to stick to the facts, which show very clearly that plastic pollution is harming our environment and we need to act."
The Canadian ban applies to single-use retail bags, cutlery, foodservice ware that's made from "problematic" or hard-to-recycle materials, ring carriers, stir sticks and straws.
Prohibitions on manufacturing and importing start to phase-in in December, with exports banned in 2025.
Guilbeault called on Canada's plastics industry to support government plans for net-zero waste, including requiring plastic products to have at least 50 percent recycled content by 2030, limiting the "chasing arrows" symbol to products that Canadian recycling plants can "actually process" and creating a registry that would collect life cycle data on plastics.
In his statement, he also called for support for a legally binding global treaty on plastics pollution.