Canada’s petrochemical industry warns Ottawa against single-use plastics ban – by Kathryn Blaze Baum and Emma Graney (Globe and Mail – March 9, 2020)

“The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2050, global
oil demand for plastic production will surpass oil demand for
road passenger transport. The Alberta government is not oblivious
to this shift. A major aspect of the province’s effort to diversify
the economy away from energy exports is to satisfy the growing desire
for petrochemical products.”

Major petrochemical companies operating in Canada oppose a looming federal ban on single-use plastics and believe product demand should be market-driven, not prescribed by government regulations.

Dow Inc. and Nova Chemicals Corp. said that while they support efforts to reduce plastic waste, they believe bans can lead to an increase in alternatives that are worse for the environment and generate more greenhouse gas emissions. The companies are two of Canada’s largest petrochemical players involved in the production of plastics, with facilities in Alberta and Ontario.

“Bans are limited in their effect because they do not address human behaviour related to waste management or significantly reduce the amount of debris that ends up in the environment,” Dow spokeswoman Adrianne Lovric said.

Nova’s president and chief executive Todd Karran said that while the company supports legislation that “drives all materials to be compostable, recyclable or recoverable,” the focus should be on improving recycling programs and supporting sustainable innovation.

The Liberal government is poised to regulate plastics as part of a national plan to reduce the amount of packaging that is overwhelming municipal-waste programs and polluting waterways.

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