Most items placed in blue boxes wind up in landfills or the ocean, according to MP Nathan Cullen.

MP introduces Zero Waste Packaging Act

An idea from a Terrace man inspired an MP from Northern B.C. to introduce the Zero Waste Packaging Act in Ottawa.

Ben Korving won a contest hosted by Nathan Cullen, who invited constituents to suggest legislation that he could introduce as a private member’s bill in the House of Commons. Korving’s idea is to ban consumer packaging products that are neither recyclable nor compostable.

“There’s a ton of plastic waste for every human on the planet right now, and it’s getting worse,” said Cullen, MP for the Skeena-Bulkley Valley who discussed the Zero Waste Packaging Act Thursday with Comox Valley stakeholders. He was accompanied by North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney.

Cullen said most items placed in blue boxes end up in landfills or the ocean. Some even end up in food.

“The bill is quite simple and focused — make sure all plastic packaging in the country is recyclable or compostable, and if it’s not, then you can’t sell it. Industry actually is showing up on side with the bill…They realize they have a problem too.”

He notes other “unusual allies” are on side, such as hunting, fishing and conservation groups.

“Canadians spend about $3 billion a year just on landfills, and the costs are going up,” Cullen said. “Places like Courtenay, Comox don’t have the money going out to afford our garbage, so we should make less of it, is the idea.”

The bill aims to reduce plastic waste, cut the cost that municipalities pay for landfills, and help Canadians recycle.

“You do your best to use less, and make sure that every opportunity you have to not buy that piece of plastic, you do it,” Blaney said. “I think this is why this bill is so important. I think as consumers across the country, we’re doing the best we can with what we have. What we need to see is less packaging so that we have less to recycle.”

The Act builds on the ocean plastic motion of Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns which received 170,000-plus signatures.

“Our system is failing us,” Cullen said. “I think we’ll eventually reach the point where this is going to be like smoking inside. It just won’t be allowed.”

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