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Canada’s ‘CEPA Toxic’ Label Misleading And Counterproductive

Matthew Kastner

WASHINGTON (May 12, 2021) – The Canadian government today listed “plastic manufactured items” on Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), in effect labeling these items as “CEPA Toxic.” The American Chemistry Council issued the following statement, which may be attributed to Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics:

“America’s plastic makers are deeply committed to ending plastic waste, but listing “plastic manufactured items” as “CEPA toxic” is likely to cause undue alarm and confusion among consumers who have relied on these helpful, well-studied plastic products for decades. Banning efficient plastic products will likely lead to forced substitutions with alternatives that increase greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the transition to a low-carbon future.

In one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, a renowned analysis by the environmental firm Trucost found that replacing common plastic packages and products with alternatives would increase environmental costs nearly four times. And a separate study found that switching from plastic packaging to alternatives would increase the amount of packaging generated annually by 55M tons and increase greenhouse emissions gases by 130%.

America’s plastic makers and their value chain partners are working to make plastics even more efficient by leading efforts to eliminate plastic waste through innovation, investment and public policies that accelerate our transition to a more circular economy, where plastics are systemically designed for recapture and reuse. In the last three years, the private sector has announced $5.5 billion in U.S. investments to dramatically modernize plastics recycling. And we’re actively supporting public policies designed to create a 21st century regulatory framework to accelerate a circular economy; significantly increase the use of recycled plastic in packaging; develop a national recycling framework to help businesses, communities and families recycle more plastic; and ensure more and different types of plastic are recycled through traditional and advanced recycling technologies.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) also provides an opportunity for collaboration to end plastic waste in the environment, which is another step that can be taken to create a more circular economy for plastics.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $486 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is among the largest exporters in the nation, accounting for ten percent of all U.S. goods exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

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