Today, readers are responding to a proposed ban on single-use plastics and the threat such a ban might pose to the oil sector. The oil industry supplies chemical manufacturers with the building blocks needed to make resins that are used to create plastic products. Globally, petrochemicals account for the single-largest contributor to oil-demand growth out to 2040, according to the International Energy Agency.
When I look at my non-recyclable garbage every week, it is all single use plastic bags and wrapping for the most part. So I applaud this effort in general. But like many laws, this is affecting the just the tip of the iceberg (if we still have any icebergs in a few years that is). The real problem that needs serious attention is the necessity to efficiently recycle. The problem is that there are literally thousands of possible packaging products, making it virtually impossible to recycle in a cost effective manner. The packaging industry needs to be constrained to only use a few products in packaging that are easily recyclable. That will likely get rid of a lot more plastic in landfills than this bill will.
Plastic use will not go away as it is used in many different ways. Research will be done to make it more recyclable. Plastic is not all bad and evil but used and made in a responsible way and fully recyclable is definitely the direction we should be headed.
The oil and gas industry is the global leader on energy, but they are mired in a desire for short term profit (which isn't there anyway). The world needs them to lead the charge in all aspects of the transition to a clean economy. The clean economy should last thousands of years provided humanity does not kill itself off. For example, they could transition natural gas to hydrogen and use the same pipe used now, double or triple their investments in solar and wind, do a lot more for carbon capture, and so on. They should have a sound plan that is known by everyone. We all need to bite the bullet for a few decades. How are we going to do it?
I applaud the actions of the government to ban or restrict single use plastics. Canadians managed to get along just fine before these plastics came into being and they will get along just fine after they are restricted or banned.
If other countries (in the EU for example) can do this, I am confident Canadian companies and industries can rise to this challenge to reduce single-use plastics. There's a lot of talk of the lack of innovation in Canada (not sure I totally agree with this) so here's an opportunity to innovate. We can't make excuses anymore, we must do our part on climate change. Creative minds at companies and industry should be working on this along the supply chain too so that the entire process becomes more focused on using less plastic. Get on the right side of history instead of burying your head in the sand.
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