“Proposed Plastic Reductions Could Increase Grocery Prices” — Fruit and Vegetable Producers Warn

Fresh fruit and vegetable producers are expressing concerns over a proposed federal plan to reduce plastic packaging, which they find “problematic” and “unrealistic.” 

The government launched consultations in August to address plastic waste, with a focus on primary food plastic packaging that contributes to over 4.4 million tonnes of plastic waste each year. The plan seeks to achieve a reduction, aiming for a 75% reduction in such packaging by 2026 and 95% by 2028.

The fruit and vegetable industry believes these targets are not practical, indicating that fresh produce is often distributed and sold in bulk or plastic-free packaging. They argue that transitioning to these standards would result in higher costs passed on to consumers, primarily due to more expensive packaging materials, shipping inefficiencies, and increased food waste.

Furthermore, the sector suggests that there is little evidence that single-use packaging has a significant impact on reducing food loss and waste throughout the supply chain. Instead, they aim to find ways to reuse and recycle plastic packaging within a controlled supply chain to minimize waste.

The government’s proposed efforts are part of a broader strategy to achieve “zero plastic waste by 2030.” More than half of Canada’s plastic waste is attributed to packaging, much of which ends up in landfills, incinerators, or the environment. While the government is committed to reducing plastic waste, it aims to collaborate with producers and grocers to implement practical solutions that do not negatively impact consumers or the environment. A federal ban on the sale of single-use plastics, including checkout bags, cutlery, and stir sticks, will be implemented on December 20, 2023.

The industry hopes to find solutions that fit the unique challenges of the fruit and vegetable sector, as not all items can easily transition to plastic-free packaging. While some products can move towards plastic-free options, others like berries may still rely on plastic packaging for practical reasons.

Source: CTV News

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