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Chemist previews plastic regulations in Canada

June 5, 2024  By The Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance


A man with a beard wearing a suit smiles at the camera.Peter Mirtchev. Image courtesy of FGIA.

Peter Mirtchev, policy manager at the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, shared information about the new Canadian Federal Plastics Registry at the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) summer conference.

This registry is a legally binding global treaty on plastics sought by some countries in the United Nations and other Canadian codes and regulations related to chemical use, including restrictions on Per and Poly-fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).

The Chemistry Industry Association’s (CIAC) Plastics Division represents the Canadian plastics industry. “We will talk about what is going on in the regulatory space with plastics and how you can respond,” said Mirtchev.

Mirtchev began with current developments in single-use plastics prohibition, which was published in December 2021. Multiple Notices of Objection were filed in 2022, but the final regulations were published in June 2022.

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“Prohibition extends to the manufacturing, import and sale of the following six single use plastics: checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, ring carriers, cutlery and foodservice ware,” said Mirtchev. “But rather than bans, we need to invest in recycling infrastructure and innovation to harness the $8 billion value of plastics that are currently sent to landfill and recirculate them in the economy.”

The new federal plastics registry was first consulted on in July 2022, followed by a technical paper in April 2023. “The government has moved fast,” said Mirtchev.

The registry is a data gathering exercise that aims to align all available information on plastic flows. It seeks to make data open and accessible, provide comprehensive and comparable information, provide baselines and inform and encourage investment along the plastics life cycle, said Mirtchev.

Construction materials are among the product categories included, although packaging, single use plastics and electronics are first. “The data could be useful, but the registry, while well intentioned, is too broad,” said Mirtchev.

When PFAS were developed in the 1940s, “it was a different time,” said Mirtchev. “The chemists were just happy to get the performance with less thought to stewardship of the environment.” There are around 230 PFAS substances that are approved for use in Canada. “To the best of [CIAC’s] knowledge, there is no large-scale commercial manufacturing of PFAS in Canada,” he said.

“We are trying to solve plastic pollution, not eliminate plastics entirely,” Mirtchev concluded. “From a regulatory perspective, plastics are high on the radar and will continue to be a focus. But there are ways the industry can respond.” Mirtchev’s recommendations included:


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