On Wednesday, October 7, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson released a list of specific items to be part of the federal government's single-use plastics ban in 2021. The list includes grocery checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, plastic cutlery and food takeout containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics (like black plastic packaging).
OWSAG was shocked that single-use water bottles were not on the list nor was it mentioned in the discussion paper, A proposed integrated management approach to plastic products, on which the federal government is inviting feedback by December 9, 2020.
Eric Schiller, Founding Member of OWSAG, wrote a letter to Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson urging that single-use water bottles be included on the list and asking for an explanation as to why the banning of plastic water bottles has not been included on the list of plastics to be banned in 2021. Dr. Schiller also wrote asking if the Canadian Bottled Water Association or the Canadian Beverage Association lobbied the federal government to keep single-use water bottles off the list of banned plastics. Click 'Read More' at the bottom right to read Dr. Schiller's letters.
Here are 3 ways you can take action:
1. Write an email to Minister Wilkinson and the Director of the Plastics and Marine Litter Division of ECCC by using this template letter here.
2. Call Minister Wilkinson (Parliament Hill office: 613-995-1225 / Constituency office in North Vancouver: 604-775-6333).
3. Share our posts from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Urge them to include single-use water bottles in the federal government's 2021 ban and ask them if the Canadian Bottled Water Association or the Canadian Beverage Association lobbied the government in its decision. The government is accepting comments until December 9, 2020.
Letters from OWSAG's Eric Schiller on including single-use bottled water in the single-use plastics ban
Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson,
First of all, let me congratulate you for finally coming up with a specific list of single use plastics that your government plans to ban in 2021.
However, I must hasten to add, that I was appalled to see that plastic single -use bottles for water was not on this list. I have also perused your discussion paper, which calls for public feed back. In your list of the types of single use plastic to be targeted in 2021, plastic water bottles are NOT EVEN MENTIONED. This is amazing, because the quality of municipal tap water is as good as, and often better that the water in plastic bottles. Municipal tap water is better regulated than the water in plastic bottles.
I am a water engineer and for many years I have taught subjects in Water Supply in the Civil Engineering Dept. at the University of Ottawa. In most places in Canada, excellent well regulated municipal tap water is available at unbeatable prices. As you surely know, plastic bottles are not effectively recycled and they are clogging up the environment.
With a clear alternative of high quality municipal tap water, plastic water bottles should be banned immediately in almost all places in Canada. For more information on this issue, I invite you to go to the website of the Ottawa Water Study/Action Group (OWSAG) www.owsagottawa.org
Together with many other environmental groups in Canada, we are awaiting an explanation form you as to why the banning of plastic water bottles has not been included on the list of plastics to be banned in 2021.
Dr. Eric J. Schiller (Prof. ret, University of Ottawa)
Founding member, OWSAG
Additional letter about the Canadian Bottled Water Association and the Canadian Beverage Association
Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change,
I have just been informed about the list of plastic items that are slated to be banned in 2021. I am glad to see some action on this important file. However I have a question.
I notice that plastic bottles for water are NOT included on the list of banned plastics. I find this strange because there is a clear alternative for bottled water. It is the excellent municipal tap water that most Canadians enjoy. This municipal tap water is highly regulated, of excellent quality and is delivered at an unbeatable price. Given that there is a better alternative for bottled water, why has bottled water NOT been included in the list of banned plastics? This question is important, because presently in Canada more that 5 million plastic water bottles are consumed per day. Despite the claims of the Canadian Bottled Water Association, most of these bottles are not recycled and they end up in the environment.
I would like to know – Has the Canadian Bottled Water Association (CBWA) or the Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) contacted you? Have they lobbied you to NOT put single-use bottles for water on the list of banned plastics? If they have not contacted you, then why have you decided to omit plastic water bottles from your list of banned plastics in for 2021?
I will appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
Dr. Eric J. Schiller
Water resources engineer
(Prof. ret., Civil Engineering, Univ of Ottawa)