Speaking at a nature reserve in Mont St-Hilaire, south of Montreal, Trudeau said the specifics of the ban still need to be worked out.
"To be honest, as a dad, it's tough trying to explain this to my kids".
Canada will ban single-use plastics as early as 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday, adding the North American nation to a growing list of countries prohibiting the items as concerns grow about rising amounts of ocean waste. "How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches around the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags?"More news: Here's the first look of Upcoming Google Pixel 4 Smartphone: Leak
Less than 10 percent of plastic used in Canada gets recycled.
"As parents, we're at a point when we take our kids to the beach and we have to search out a patch of sand that isn't littered with straws, Styrofoam or bottles. That's a problem, one that we have to do something about".
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the European Union signed on to the Ocean Plastics charter at the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Que., last June, agreeing to find ways to deal with marine plastics litter.
Trudeau said the presence of plastics in landfills, the oceans and navigable waterways has reached a tipping point where action was called for.More news: With iOS 13, You Can Know Where The Apps Tracked You
It will also give businesses time to adjust. Across Canada, people throw away more than 3 million tons of plastic waste per year, and about a third of all plastics are single-use items like straws and shopping bags.
In making its announcement on Monday, the Canadian government acknowledged the country's unique global role in curbing production of single-use plastics: "With the longest coastline in the world and one-quarter of the world's freshwater, Canada has a unique responsibility - and opportunity - to lead in reducing plastic pollution", the government said in its announcement.
All those countries have moved to curb plastic pollution, some of them with laws to reduce the consumption of plastics.
The federal government intends to work with provinces, territories and municipalities to set standards for companies that sell such products.More news: Warriors’ Kevin Durant ‘plans to play’ in Game 5 vs. Raptors
Several Canadian cities already ban the use of plastic bags, Montreal passed its ban a year ago, and some provinces have banned other products.