Evaluating Canada's single-use plastic (SUP) mitigation policies via brand audit and beach cleanup data
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Single-use plastics (SUPs) represent a major threat to marine environments and require proactive policies to reduce consumption and improper disposal. A range of SUP mitigation strategies are available to deter SUP use and mitigate environmental impacts, including extended producer responsibility (EPR), deposit-return schemes, SUP bans, and public outreach and education. Within Canada, current SUP management is fragmented, and proposed federal approaches may be insufficient to adequately minimize SUPs. Through this study, brand audit and beach cleanup data were analyzed for multiple locations across Canada including densely populated cities and a remote island (Vancouver, Toronto, Montréal, Halifax, and Sable Island) to determine efficacy of ongoing SUP mitigation measures in Canada. Results support that current Canadian SUP measures do not adequately address EPR, and overall, current measures appear to be insufficient to address improper disposal of SUPs into the environment. Recommendations to strengthen current SUP management strategies and mitigate marine plastic pollution are suggested with the goal of improving future Canadian SUP reduction policies. Keywords: Single-use plastics (SUPs); marine litter; SUP policy; SUP mitigation; Canada; brand audit; beach cleanup; citizen science.
Baxter, L. 2021. Evaluating Canada’s single-use plastic (SUP) mitigation policies via brand audit and beach cleanup data [graduate project]. Halifax, NS: Dalhousie University.