Less than 10 per cent of plastics in Canada are recycled, with the rest ending up in landfills and often on our beaches, in rivers, parks and our oceans, harming wildlife and damaging habitats. Canadians want to see concrete action from governments and plastic producers to step up to tackle plastic pollution. This means improving how plastics are made, used and managed, cutting plastic waste, building green economic opportunities, and sending a clear signal to governments and businesses so they can spur innovation, drive policy, and signal areas of investment.

That is why today, coinciding with Earth Day under the theme “Planet vs. Plastics,” the Government of Canada announced the new Federal Plastics Registry, a tool to compel plastic producers and other companies across the plastics value chain to help monitor and track plastic from the time it is produced up to its end of life.

“Canadians expect the Government of Canada to take action to reduce plastic waste and pollution, and we are delivering on our commitment,” said Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “The Federal Plastics Registry is a practical tool that will help track plastics across the economy, inform future actions, and measure progress to reduce plastic waste and pollution.”

Committee Host Country Alliance representatives with Minister Steven Guilbeault.

In Ottawa today ministers and high-level representatives from around the world unite to advance an ambitious global agreement on plastic pollution. Featured image credit: Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

By better tracking plastic through its full life cycle, both governments and industry will be better equipped to address plastic waste and pollution through increased transparency and sound, robust, evidence-based decision-making. This announcement helps set the tone for the kinds of measures Canada hopes to encourage the world to move toward this week in Ottawa during the fourth session of negotiations toward a new global agreement on plastic pollution.

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The Registry requires plastic resin manufacturers, producers of plastic products, and service providers to report each year on the quantity and types of plastic they put on the Canadian market and how that plastic moves through the economy. This tool will provide Canadians, including innovators and decision-makers, with reliable data that will identify opportunities for further action to reduce plastic waste and pollution, as well as help monitor progress over time. Reporting will be phased in over time and by sector. The categories covered by the Registry include packaging, single-use and disposable products, construction, transportation, electronics and electrical equipment, tires, textiles and apparel, fishing and aquaculture equipment, and agriculture and horticulture equipment.

Through the Canada-wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments agreed to develop and maintain Canada-wide data on how plastic moves through the economy. The Federal Plastics Registry supports this commitment and publicly provides critical data to inform and support Canada’s shared plan to address plastic waste and pollution.

The Government of Canada continues to collaborate with partners to advance its comprehensive zero plastic waste agenda. This includes working with provinces and territories through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to implement the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste and Action Plan. The Registry supports the Action Plan commitment to develop and maintain national plastics economy data.

The Government of Canada published a consultation paper in July 2022, a technical paper in April 2023, and a Notice of Intent in December 2023 on the approach and technical details of the Federal Plastics Registry. The feedback received during these consultations was considered in the development of the final Registry.

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Featured image credit: Getty Images

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