My Plastics JourneyPosted: June 24, 2024

Now that you understand my motivation for wanting to take action against plastics(if not click here to find out!), I want to explain what I have done, and how I am continuing to pursue single use plastics.

In the summer of 2018, I began interning at Donnelly Law, an environmental law firm with a long history of helping clients generate new legislation, to work on drafting legislation that called for the banning of plastic bags and straws. This legislation is modelled on Prince Edward Island’s ban on plastic bags, the European Ban on plastics, the European plan for a Circular Economy, the Victoria Ban on Plastic Bags and Straws, California’s ban on plastic bottles, and many more. Through our advocacy, I had the opportunity to present my draft Bill called the Canadian Plastic Bag and Straws Reduction Act to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the former Minister of Heritage Rodriguez Rodriguez, and MP Ruby Sahota. This gave my legislation an unbelievable amount of exposure – which later led me to be featured on CBC’s Cross Country Checkup’s podcast to further discuss my legislation.

Link to CBC Cross Canada interview

In 2019, I saw that the climate movement and the push for a plastic ban had increased to new heights, and decided to respond accordingly by working towards a ban on all single use plastics. I continued interning at Donnelly Law to redraft the legislation that called for a phased ban of all single use plastics. Some key highlights include:

1. A ban on all single use plastics, starting with:

a. Bags and Straws banned by 2021 (special accommodations for those with disabilities)

b. Cutlery and Containers by 2023

c. Plastic bottles by 2025

d. Grocery and Dry-Cleaning wrapping by 2030

e. Food, candy, and all single use plastic wrappers by 2035.

2. The establishment of a climate bank similar to the European Union to provide incentives, partial loans, and similar for businesses to go green.

3. Creating a Centre for Innovation to accelerate the plastics recovery economy – a MaRS for the Environment

a. Like its business equivalent in Toronto, the intention of this facility is to bring various industry sectors together such as medicine, entrepreneurship, education, and technology to solve problems and develop solutions – specifically environmental solutions.

b. As Canada aims to become greener through more legislation and the execution of the proposed phases, the government can issue an ideal deadline for environmentally friendly solutions and/or alternatives to plastic and various problems.

i. To encourage parties to take part, incentives can be offered such as using the climate bank to provide grants.

Ii. By establishing this hub, Canada can build up their green economy that will bring more and better jobs, higher GDP, and a cleaner environment.

c. This act also recognizes that a significant portion of our plastic and waste originates from other countries. Developing a Global MaRS that creates worldwide standards will not only assist the world in going green, but help increase competition, in turn, encourage Canadian businesses to go green.

Now, I am continuing the fight against single use plastics – through the passing of this legislation and advocating for the creation of a Green Economy if we are to protect our environment in the future. COVID 19 has taught us that if we are to survive as a species, protecting our environment is paramount.

Rohan