Details of the plan have to worked out.
Canada will ban single-use plastics as early as 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday, adding the North American nation to a growing list of countries prohibiting the items as concerns grow about rising amounts of ocean waste.
"We believe if you couple that growth with the proper collection, repurpose, reuse of plastics, it's going to continue to make the products more in demand".
Ottawa intends to collaborate with the provinces, territories and municipal governments to establish norms for those companies that sell the products that could fall under the ban.
This will included such things as plastic straws, plastic cutlery. stir sticks, plates, certain plastic bags etc, but with the corollary "where supported by scientific evidence and warranted".
On Monday, the Canadian government announced it would support "community-led" action on reducing plastic waste.
To be sure, data are spotty about how much plastic winds up in single-use items versus durable goods such as cars.
Plastic beverage bottles won't be banned in Europe but the European Union will require them to contain a minimum of 30 per cent recycled material by 2030, and a collection rate for recycling or reuse of 90 per cent by 2029.
"Plastics are key to our modern and sustainable way of life, but they do not belong in the environment".
"People around the world are grappling with this every day", Mr Trudeau said. The containers were labeled as recyclable plastic scraps, but an inspection by customs officials found that many of them were filled to the brim with used adult diapers and wires.
Canada now throws out 12 times the plastic it recycles, and there are only about a dozen domestic recycling plants. "And to be honest, as a dad it is tough trying to explain this to my kids", Mr Trudeau said.
"How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches around the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags?" he said. Some plastics can take centuries to degrade.
Trudeau said the timeline will be based around consultations and discussions with scientists around which plastics should be targeted, what alternative options are available for businesses, and how unintended costs to small businesses could be limited.
Canada is considering ban single-use plastics across the country in just two years' time.
Every year, the Great Canadian Shore Cleanup campaign gathers about 3,000 tonnes of garbage, much of it plastics, from Canadian shorelines - something Peter Ross, executive director for the Coastal Ocean Research Institute, acknowledged was "a bandaid".
"We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce plastic pollution, protect the environment and create jobs and grow our economy".
"Polypropylene is used in items such as life-saving medical products, fuel-reducing vehicle parts, textiles and packaging that can extend the life of food, resulting in less waste", she added.