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Ottawa to gradually eliminate plastic waste in its operations across the country

Last Updated Sep 20, 2018 at 3:25 pm EDT

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna looks on as Paul Polman, chief executive officer of transnational consumer goods company Unilever, addresses a news conference about the Circular Economy Leadership Coalition as the G7 environment, oceans and energy ministers meet in Halifax on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. The group, an alliance of corporate and NGO leaders, among others, hopes to develop solutions to protect and regenerate the enviroment while enhancing prosperity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX – Ottawa used the platform of a G7 ministers meeting today to announce it will gradually eliminate plastic waste from government operations, as business leaders spoke of how they’ll start turning waste into profits.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said at the Halifax gathering that the federal government will eliminate “unnecessary, single use plastics” throughout government operations, including plastic straws, cutlery, packaging and bottles.

She said Ottawa aims to collect, reuse or recycle at least 75 per cent of its plastic waste by 2030.

Meanwhile, the CEOs of a group of large companies said they’ll sign the ocean plastics charter that Canada has been promoting, and some companies and non-government groups announced a coalition dedicated to finding ways to reuse plastic rather than throwing it away.

Unilever Canada, Ikea Canada, and Loblaw were among the firms joining with non-governmental groups to support the Circular Economy Leadership Coalition.

The Canadian-led plastic charter’s provisions call for national governments to set standards for increasing the reuse and recycling of plastics rather than trashing them.

It also calls for businesses to take responsibility for production methods that eliminate waste — an approach referred to as “extended producer responsibility.”

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly said Volvo had joined the Circular Economy Leadership Coalition.