Be sure to carry with you those extra bags and now include cutlery and stir sticks to the list if that is something that you use often.

The single-use plastics ban in Canada starts today (Tuesday, December 20), this will include grocery bags, straws, cutlery, stir sticks, some take-out containers and the plastic rings used for 6 or 12-packs of cans are on the list with manufacturing and importing plastic ring carriers for beverages set to be banned on June 23, 2023.

However, there are exceptions to the ban on straws to allow for single-use plastic flexible straws for people that require them for medical or accessibility reasons.

It's all part of the federal government's target of eliminating plastic waste by 2030.

These six categories of plastic items were chosen based on research indicating that they are commonly found in the environment, harmful to wildlife, difficult to recycle, and have readily available alternatives.

It is estimated by officials that this ban will eliminate over 1.3 million tonnes of hard-to-recycle plastic waste and more than 22,000 tonnes of plastic pollution — a volume that is equivalent to over one million full garbage bags. Just 9 per cent of plastic waste is recycled, while the rest ends up in the environment.

“There is a clear linkage between a world free of plastic pollution and a sustainable world, rich in biodiversity—a world that also best supports the health and economic security of Canadians, protects our environment, and helps in the fight against climate change,” Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said in a press release.

The following below is from the Government of Canada's news release:

  • Checkout bags designed to carry purchased goods from a business and typically given to a customer at the retail point of sale.
  • Cutlery includes:
    • knives
    • forks
    • spoons
    • sporks
    • chopsticks
  • Foodservice ware designed for serving or transporting food or beverage that is ready to be consumed, and that: 
    • contains
      • expanded polystyrene foam
      • extruded polystyrene foam
      • polyvinyl chloride
      • carbon black
      • an oxo-degradable plastic
    • are limited to the following items
      • clamshell containers
      • lidded containers
      • boxes
      • cups
      • plates
      • bowls
  • Ring carriers are flexible and designed to surround beverage containers in order to carry them together.
  • Stir sticks designed to stir or mix beverages, or to prevent a beverage from spilling from the lid of its container.
  • Straws include:
    • straight drinking straws, and
    • flexible straws, which have a corrugated section that allows the straw to bend, packaged with beverage containers (juice boxes and pouches)

The Regulations do not apply to plastic manufactured items that are waste or that are transiting through Canada. Any person who manufactures, imports or sells (including to provide free of charge) any of the 6 categories of single-use plastics listed above is subject to the Regulations. 

Here's the link to the government of Canada's news release.