Bioplastics 101, ultimatum to wireless carriers: CBC's Marketplace cheat sheet

Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

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Plant-based? Compostable? What you need to know about bioplastics

Bioplastics are plastics that can be:

But many of them are still ending up in landfill. In this week’s episode of Marketplace, we looked at myths around compostable plastic. Read more

This cup is made from PLA, a compostable, plant-based bioplastic. But not all bioplastics are biobased and not all of them are biodegradable. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Some Canadian insurance companies stop covering coronavirus-related trip cancellations

Two major Canadian travel insurance providers — Manulife and TuGo — will no longer reimburse new customers who need to cancel their trips due to the coronavirus outbreak. Both companies told CBC News the virus is now a “known” issue and therefore cancellation coverage no longer applies — as it’s designed for unexpected mishaps. Travel insurance broker Martin Firestone says he believes other companies will likely follow suit, to avoid the huge costs that could arise as the coronavirus spreads globally. Read more

A display board shows a cancelled flight arrival from Wuhan at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing on Thursday. (Mark Schiefelbein/The Associated Press)

Liberals give Telus, Rogers, and Bell 2 years to cut wireless prices by 25%

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains says the government expects Bell, Telus and Rogers to reduce the cost of their 2 to 6 gigabyte data plans by 25 per cent within the next two years. That would mean offering a talk, text and data plan costing less than $40 monthly. If they don’t comply, Bains say the government will step in. Read more

The federal government is giving the Big Three carriers just two years to cut their prices. (Collage/ Canadian Press)

Don’t buy new, fix the old: The repair business is booming

Many of us find it’s easier to buy new these days than to repair old appliances. But that has a strong environmental impact, and many eco-minded Canadians are deciding that just won’t do, and starting to learn how to instead fix their broken appliances, like coffee makers, lamps, toasters, and kettles. They’re doing so at places like the Repair Café in Toronto.

Last week, Marketplace looked at “Right to Repair”  legislation and why some consumers are pushing for major companies to supply the parts to let them fix appliances on their own. Read more.

Are your major appliances breaking down faster and more frequently than ever? We investigate why it’s so tough for many of us to find an affordable fix. And we follow four Canadians with different busted appliances (dishwasher, fridges, washer) to see if a veteran repairman can save their machines, or whether they will get trashed. 22:30

What else is going on? 

Apple will pay up to $500 million US to settle slow iPhone lawsuit
Apple Inc. has agreed to pay up to $500 million US to settle litigation accusing it of quietly slowing down older iPhones as it launched new models, to induce owners to buy replacement phones or batteries.

Cannabis drinks have been legal for over two months in Canada — so why aren’t they on the shelves? 

Producers are delaying the rollout and revising expectations for weed beverages.

Fears of coronavirus contamination prompt coffee chains to temporarily ban reusable mugs
Starbucks, Second Cup and Tim Hortons are temporarily forbidding customers from bringing their own reusable mugs because of fears that they could help spread the coronavirus.

The latest in recalls 

This week on Marketplace

Exposing composting myths with Makda Ghebreslassie

Over the last year, Marketplace has investigated the overuse of plastic packaging at some of Canada’s top supermarket chains. A year later, we revisited Loblaws, Sobeys, Costco, and Walmart and found evidence of a growing industry, bioplastics.

One of the bioplastics we came across in our supermarket search was compostable plastics. The team found compostable plastics, including bags, cutlery and coffee pods on many store shelves. 

As the plastic pollution problem deepens, interest has grown for alternatives to conventional plastics, such as bioplastics packaging, an industry that is expected to grow to $10 billion over the next few years. 

But watch what Marketplace discovered about compostable plastics and what’s actually happening when you put them in your green bin. 

Stick around for a bonus feature on this episode. We have an expert microbiologist ready to hand out some tips to keep you germ-free the next time you travel on a plane.

Watch this week’s episode and catch up on past episodes of  Marketplace anytime on CBC Gem.

 — Makda

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