In March, the European Parliament agreed that by 2021 the European Union will ban nearly a dozen single-use products including plastic plates, cutlery, cups, straws, plastic sticks in cotton swabs, balloon sticks and stir sticks, and Styrofoam cups and take-out food containers.
Last year, Canada sponsored a G7 ocean plastics charter meant to spur a reduction in plastics use, and in May the United Nations said 180 countries reached a deal to sharply reduce the amount of plastic that gets washed into the oceans.
Despite the goodwill from countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, serious questions remain over how the mass of plastic used daily around the world will be recycled properly.
Each year a million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals worldwide suffer injury or death by becoming entangled in plastic or ingesting it through the food chain.
The prime minister also said it's "tough trying to explain" to his children why "dead whales [are] washing up on beaches around the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags", Reuters reported.
Some of the items to be banned include plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates and stir sticks.
The environment is shaping up as a key issue in Canadian legislative elections set for October, with Trudeau's main challenger vowing if he wins to roll back environmental protections, including a federal carbon tax and a tanker traffic ban along a pristine part of the Pacific coast.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced June 10 that his government will seek to ban "harmful" single-use plastics in the country by 2021 and make companies responsible for handling the waste from their plastic packaging or products. It's a problem we simply can't afford to ignore.
At the last G7 summit, Canada and four other leading economies signed a charter pledging that by 2040 all plastic produced in their countries would be reused, recycled or burned to produce energy.
He tweeted that Canadians throw away 15 billion plastic bags a year and 57 million straws every day.
Canada has delayed implementation until 2021 to allow time for a "science-based" decision on exactly which plastics "are harmful to the environment and human health", according to a government statement.
Third, what will replace single-use plastics?
Several cities in Canada already have bans on plastic bags in place.
Last year, a federal court of appeals ruled that the government had failed to adequately consult with indigenous groups and halted the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, which would almost triple the amount of western Canadian crude moved from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia.
A report by the European Commission found that 80% of litter in the world's oceans is plastic, due to its slow decomposition.
Recycling, he said, would not only cut down on pollution but would help produce 42,000 jobs in the recycling and recovery businesses.