Canada’s plastic packaging recycling rate sees 3 percent growth

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Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA)

Toronto, Canada — While recycling rates in general across Canada are stagnant, the plastics industry realized an additional 3 percent of plastic recycled in 2014 compared to 2013, according to a new report published by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA). This increase is primarily the result of more plastic packaging collected for recycling, specifically plastic bags and film and HDPE (#2) bottles. In total, at least 320.7 million kilograms of post-consumer plastic were collected in Canada for recycling in 2014.

The results are derived from a voluntary survey that is sent out to more than 500 companies that handle recycled plastics in North America. These companies are made up of reclaimers, exporters, brokers, material recovery facilities (MRFs) and other handlers of used plastics.

This year’s data, along with that of previous years, consistently indicates that material collected in Canada routinely remains in North America rather than moving to overseas markets. “We are proud to report that 78 percent of the plastic material reported was reclaimed in Canada or the USA. This amounts to more than 250 million kilograms,” says Carol Hochu, President and CEO of CPIA.

The reported plastic quantities represent an increase of 800,000 kilograms for bottles and an increase of 7.8 million kilograms for bags and film, in large part because of plastic bags and film that are collected through curbside recycling programs.

“Canada’s plastic recycling infrastructure is well-established and working hard to increase recycling opportunities for everyone. With CPIA’s efforts and the entrepreneurship of the Canadian plastics recycling industry, the survey results show the industry is integral to the circular economy,” says Krista Friesen, VP of Sustainability at CPIA. “While a 3 percent increase may not seem like much, it is important to remember that we are seeing continued improvement in the lightweighting of packaging, so to realize any increase means that a larger volume of plastics were recovered.”

To put the issue of lightweighting in context, the average weight of a PET water bottle has dropped more than 57 percent in 15 years, from 19 grams in 2000 to 8 grams in 2015.

The report “2014 Post Consumer Plastics Recycling in Canada” can be downloaded under plastics.ca.

Source: Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA)