By Andrew Hirschfeld
June 13, 2019

The environment is in, plastic is out.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced earlier this week that Canada will be the latest country to join the growing number of nations banning single use plastics by 2021. In March, European Parliament passed a similar law that also includes a plan to collect and recycle up to 90 percent of bottles within ten years.

Canadian companies that manufacture plastic will be responsible for collecting and properly disposing of their waste. “Canadians will throw away an estimated $11 billion worth of plastic materials each year by 2030” according to a statement released Prime Minister Trudeau adding that “By improving how we manage plastic waste and investing in innovative solutions, we can reduce 1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution, generate billions of dollars in revenue, and create approximately 42,000 jobs.”Under Canada’s ban plastic straws, cotton swabs, disposable cutlery, and plastic bags will be banned.

The move could benefit Hoffmaster Group, Inc. which designs and sells disposable tabletop products. The company acquired Indiana based Aardvark Straws from Precision Products Group Inc. last year. Aardvark Straws is one of the only companies that makes paper straws.

Aardvark started in 2007 as the anti-plastic movement was starting to gain momentum. After companies like Disney, American Airlines, and Starbucks made moves away from plastic straws the company says it saw nearly 5,000 percent sales growth.

“Aardvark straws are a natural extension of our premium portfolio and complement our line of environmentally responsible products.” says Andy Romjue, president of Hoffmaster’s Foodservice Division adding that they “are committed to being a reliable supply source for paper drinking straws in the foodservice market.”

Hoffmaster’s acquisition of Aardvark has helped the straw-maker ramp up production. Aardvark could increase its production capacity by another 700 percent by the end of the year setting them to be on track to meet needs created by Canada’s single use plastic ban.

Several companies have also used the anti-plastic movement in the past as an opportunity to bolster their public image. On World Water Day in 2016 Bacardi announced that they would remove plastic straws and stirrers in cocktails at company events.

In the disposable cutlery space, startups are getting the chance to flourish. Eco Products Inc. is one of the brands dominating the space. The company makes compostable cutlery that can handle heat up 200 degrees. They also makes a collection of other eco-friendly products like compostable cups, plates, and bowls.

Plastic bag bans have gained traction across the globe: Thirty-two countries now have bans in place. Here in the United States, more than 200 cities have enacted bans. In 2016, California banned grocery stores and pharmacies from using single use plastic bags, and the state also charges customers ten cents for paper bags.

In response to the growing number of plastic bag bans Novolex, one of the packaging brands in North America, launched a program called Bag-2-Bag. The initiative meets “ the consumer demands for ‘green’ initiatives” according to Troy Cook, Operations Manager of Novolex’s recycling plant in North Vernon, Indiana. The company says it aims to increase its post-consumer input into the bags as bag ban grow in popularity globally. Their bags are made up of 60 percent recycled material.

At least when it comes to reusable bags, you can take it with you.

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