May 30th, 2024

Billions of bottles: Canadian statistics paint grim picture of plastic litter problem

By The Canadian Press on April 25, 2024.

New Canadian data suggest that over a nine-year period between 2012 and 2020, the equivalent of more 15 billion plastic bottles and as many as 14 billion plastic grocery bags became litter in Canada's environment. A single-use plastic water bottle sits amongst a pile of seaweed on the shore of Frobisher Bay in Iqaluit on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – New Canadian data suggest that over a nine-year period between 2012 and 2020, the equivalent of more 15 billion plastic bottles and as many as 14 billion plastic grocery bags became litter in Canada’s environment.

The data come as Canadian negotiators are at an Ottawa convention centre with peers from 174 other countries trying to hammer out a global agreement to eliminate plastic waste.

The numbers are part of a new dataset Statistics Canada compiled to support the federal government’s “zero-plastic waste agenda.”

It shows that more than 348,000 tonnes of plastic waste was permanently discarded in the environment between 2012 and 2020.

That includes 30,000 tonnes of plastic bottles and 72,000 tonnes of plastic film, which is used in grocery bags and food wraps.

The data also show a 28 per cent increase in how much plastic Canada made or imported between 2012 and 2020, and a 14 per cent increase in how much plastic waste Canadians produced.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2024.

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