Posted at 6:50am
Statistics Canada’s most recent Household and Environment survey appears to indicate an improvement in consumer behavior regarding the use of single-use plastics and their electronic products such as cell phones, computers and televisions. However, it should be noted that the survey is based on the results of a survey.
A survey every two years
Since 2007, Statistics Canada has published the results of a household and environmental survey every two years. The most recent version, conducted in 2021, was conducted with 38,000 Canadians in all provinces except the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Computers, cell phones and televisions top the list of e-waste in the country. In 2021, 38% of households said they had at least one type of electronic device they wanted to get rid of, compared to 43% in 2019.
old computers to restore
More Quebecers are sending their old computers to a recycling center, according to Statistics Canada’s latest household and environmental survey. More than two-thirds of households (67%) in Belle Province will hand in their old computer to a recycling center in 2021, compared to 53% six years ago. An increase above the Canadian average of 10 percentage points between 2015 and 2021.
Cell phones stored longer?
All indications are that Canadians are keeping their cell phones longer, and when it’s time to get rid of them, more and more of them are handing them in at a recycling center. While in 2015 17% of Quebecers said they had cell phones they wanted to get rid of, in 2021 that proportion dropped to 15%. In the same period, the proportion of households that hand in their old appliances to a collection center increased to 16 points, from 29% to 45%. Note: 6% of Canadians reported having sold or repaired their device in 2021, compared to 1% in 2011. In 2020, there were 85.74 cell phones per 100 people in the country, according to World Bank data.
Drucker: Quebec is catching up
Between 2015 and 2021, the percentage of Canadians who took their old printer to a recycling center increased from 60% to 67%. Quebec took the opportunity to catch up with the Canadian average, which rose from 49% to 67%.
Fewer straws and plastic bags
In 2019, 23% of Canadians reported using at least one plastic straw in a typical week. This share fell to 20% in 2021. In Quebec, the proportion of the population who say they have used at least one straw increased from 17% to 16% between 2019 and 2021. A number that needs to be put into perspective, says Karel Ménard, director general of the Quebec Common Front for Ecological Waste Management. “When we stop giving plastic straws, we give straws made from bamboo or reeds. I haven’t seen bamboo plantations in Canada yet, so they will be from China. You travel halfway around the planet to get here. In general, consumers also indicate that many of them use their own bags at the grocery store. In Canada, the share increased from 96% to 97% in two years. For Quebec, 98% of respondents said they would do the same in 2021, up one percentage point from 2019.
An incomplete picture
Karel Ménard isn’t particularly pleased with the results of Statistics Canada’s survey. In his opinion, these data offer an incomplete picture of the situation. “It’s interesting, but it’s much more of a behavioral study, it’s subjective to a point, it’s not quantitative. I would not use this data for my work. It’s too random and not detailed enough. However, Mr Ménard admits that it is difficult to get a picture of the situation across Canada. Data are generally rather sparse, he admits, at least to compare the provinces with each other.