Environment and climate change canada releases pollution prevention (P2) planning notice

Studies indicate that food packaging waste makes up about one-third of all household waste in Canada, with only 20% being recovered for reuse and recycling. A concerning trend observed is where both food waste and plastic waste has risen over time. Among these, film food packaging, including flexible pouches, wraps, and bags, presents a particularly difficult challenge for collection, sorting, and recycling. The issues arise due to their lightweight nature, limited secondary market value, and contamination with nutrients, making proper recycling a complex task.

Assorted foods in plastic packaging
Caption: Assorted foods in plastic packaging.

To address this issue the Government of Canada, through Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), is proposing an alternative approach. They plan to publish a pollution prevention (P2) planning notice. The P2 Notice is intended to effectively reduce the environmental impact associated with primary food plastic packaging while accounting for the unique challenges posed by food safety regulations and more.

“Plastics play an important role in the everyday lives of Canadians. However, a significant amount of plastic food packaging is used only once and then ends up in landfills as waste or in the environment as pollution. The solution lies in the concerted action and combined efforts of all governments, industry, in this case, major grocery retailers, and Canadians. By getting rid of problematic plastic food packaging, replacing single-use packaging with reuse-refill systems and ensuring that plastics, if needed, are designed to be safely reused, recycled or composted, we can all help move Canada toward zero plastic waste.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

What does this mean for Grocery Retailers?

The P2 Notice aims to impose requirements on Canada’s major grocery retailers and their suppliers to compel them to create and execute pollution prevention plans focused on achieving zero plastic waste from primary food plastic packaging

The P2 plan will be tailored to meet Minister-set targets for recycled content and the reduction, reuse, and redesign of primary food plastic packaging. Additionally, it will include objectives to boost the sales of products offered in reuse-refill systems, concentrated forms, and completely free of plastic packaging. To meet the reuse-refill targets, companies will have the flexibility to consider incorporating non-food products into their P2 plan. This strategic approach is set to drive significant progress toward sustainable packaging practices and waste reduction.

What are the Next Steps?

Stakeholders, partners, and the general public are invited to provide written comments on or before Wednesday, August 30, 2023. The Government will analyze feedback to incorporate valuable insights into the design of the P2 Notice. Throughout the development process, they will maintain active engagement with stakeholders for further consultations. Before finalizing the P2 Notice, a preliminary draft will be made public, allowing for comments and input from the general audience.

Given the amount of plastic packaging used in the food sector, it is important that Canada’s plastic reduction policies address it. The P2 plan requirements can be an effective way to address the growing plastic issue in the food industry. Leadership in the grocery industry will be critical to solving the problem. We would encourage the government to continue to look for other industries in the sector where this policy could also apply.” 

– Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Circular Innovation Council


On January 2nd, 2024 the Government of Canada published the Notice of Intent to issue a Section 46 Notice for the Federal Plastics Registry. This is to create an inventory of data in the Canada Gazette, Part I. The publication of the Notice of Intent to issue a Section 46 Notice is followed by a public comment period ending February 13, 2024. If you wish to provide comments, please send them to [email protected].

For more information, please visit the Plastic Initiatives and Regulations webpage or reach out to [email protected].

Stay Connected

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
[email protected]

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change 
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
[email protected] 

Alicia Advincula
Communications Coordinator
Circular Innovation Council
[email protected]





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