The Canadian federal government is moving toward labeling plastic as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
Environment and Climate Change Canada, a federal department, is pursuing the label of Schedule 1 toxic substance for plastic as a way to curb the use of it.
"In order to take concrete regulatory action to reduce plastic waste and pollution under CEPA, substances must first be added to Schedule 1," the department confirmed in an email to The Globe and Mail.
Stakeholders in the plastics industry say the move goes overboard.
"We're uncomfortable with the notion that products that are used every day to keep food safe and sanitary, are going to be declared toxic," said Bob Masterson, CEO of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada. "We understand that it's just a designation for rulemaking, but it will be used as a reason by some campaigners to encourage people to stop using plastics."
Masterson has been pushing for parliament to craft legislation to deal specifically with plastics or to update existing pollution regulations. Canada's Liberal party, which pushed for a partial ban on single-use plastics as a campaign issue in the last election, does not hold a majority of seats in parliament.