Canada’s Single-Use Plastic Bans

How new legislation affects your business

New federally legislated single-use plastic (SUP) bans that take effect December 20, 2022 support the government’s plan to address pollution, meet the country’s target of zero plastic waste by 2030, and are designed to assist businesses and consumers transition away from the six categories of single-use plastics included in the ban.

As the deadline creeps closer, many companies who currently use the soon-to-be-banned products are left confused and overwhelmed by the alternatives, especially as supply and availability of both the plastic products they currently use and the alternatives they are considering are now unpredictable.

It’s safe to assume that all companies want to provide their customers with the most environmentally-preferable options, but the reality is a switch from certain single-use plastics to more environmentally-friendly food serviceware will bring extra cost to businesses. Simply finding the most economical alternative may not be the best option for you or your customers.

Does your area support proper disposal?

As you consider the most suitable plastic alternative for your business’ needs, perhaps the most important question to consider is, “What happens to this product when it’s finished being used?” The answer is based on several factors, including the material the packaging is made from, if your customers’ local region supports recycling and disposal of those materials, and how the specific materials support the circular economy. This process is referred to as the ‘End-of-Life’ journey for products, and it should be considered when making decisions about more sustainable alternatives.

For example, some products are described as compostable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can be disposed of in a garden compost. Most products marked as compostable require commercial or industrial composting facilities to properly break them down. These facilities use specific levels of heat, water and oxygen, and not all jurisdictions have the facilities to accommodate this process. If you were to choose packaging that required these facilities but live in an area without commercial composting facilities, your products would unintentionally wind up in landfill.

Bunzl Canada has developed a new Sustainable Packaging Selection Guide to help our customers cut through the confusion and provide the necessary information to help you make informed decisions about the plastic alternatives that best suit your needs. Click here to download your copy of the Sustainable Packaging Selection Guide.

Poor package performance = Poor Brand Perception

With any packaging product, performance, quality and value are the important factors to consider. You want to be sure you’re choosing a product that performs the way both you and your customers expect it to. A customer picking up phở from their favourite Vietnamese restaurant will surely be excited if the restaurant has transitioned from Styrofoam to biodegradable packaging. But if that packaging begins leaking from the seams or the lid doesn’t have a tight seal and the food leaks all over the interior of their car on the way home, the customer won’t have a negative impression of the container, they’ll have a negative impression of the restaurant. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and the right plastic alternative may initially come at a premium.

Bunzl Canada has been working hard to establish a comprehensive assortment of cost-intelligent alternative packaging solutions to help our customers’ transition to comply with the new legislation. We encourage you to book a meeting with your Bunzl representative to learn about the new products available, the best fit-for-purpose options, and to secure your supply.

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