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Opinion: Plastic ban means higher prices, fewer jobs, more garbage and GHGs. Congratulations, Ottawa!

Peter Shawn Taylor, Special to Financial Post on October 12, 2022

You might remember that famous scene from the 1967 movie The Graduate. Dustin Hoffman’s anxious adult-in-waiting Benjamin Braddock is trapped at a dull graduation party when family friend Mr. McGuire leans in to offer some advice. “I just want to say one word. Just one word. Are you listening?” When Benji assures him that he is, Mr. McGuire responds, “Plastics.” Waiting a beat, he adds, “There’s a great future in plastics.”

Mr. McGuire’s unsolicited advice has proven prescient. Plastic is inexpensive, lightweight, flexible, durable, impermeable and sterile. Over the past half-century, Canadians have enjoyed tremendous advances in medical devices, appliances, plumbing, furniture, packaging, food storage and on and on due to plastic’s many advantages. Ours has been the Age of Plastics.

Until now.

In June, federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault declared an end to Canada’s love affair with plastic. Citing an ocean pollution crisis, he announced a prohibition on the manufacture of six disposable plastic items by the end of 2022: checkout bags, cutlery, food service containers, six-pack ring carriers, stirrers and straws.

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