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Canada aims to recycle or recover 100% of plastic packaging by 2030

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) announced that they aim to make 100% of plastic packaging recyclable or “recoverable” — divertable from landfills for use in products like chemical feedstocks, fuelsp and lubricants — by 2030.

Representing the broad plastics value chain in Canada, CPIA and CIAC and their members announced the following waste reduction targets:

  • A new aspirational goal of 100% of plastics packaging being re-used, recycled, or recovered by 2040.
  • An aggressive interim goal of 100% of plastics packaging being recyclable or recoverable by 2030.

“Plastics innovations are essential to increase living standards and improve overall sustainability via new products that design out waste, reduce food waste, support resource efficiency, conserve water and natural resources and reduce emissions. But it is a waste of precious resources for plastics to be used once and then landfilled,” said Carol Hochu, president and CEO of CPIA.

Achieving these goals will require significant investment across the value chain in new and upgraded infrastructure and improved packaging design. Success will also require widespread public participation in recycling and recovery programs along with changes to littering behavior.

“Industry has a role to play in designing materials and applications for greater recovery, reuse and recyclability, but addressing the issue of plastic waste will require actions from society as a whole and from all of us as individuals,” said Bob Masterson, president and CEO of CIAC.

“Our members are committed to doing their part, working with governments and others, to significantly improve the recycling and recovery of post-use plastics packaging to complement existing innovations. Supports for investments in new innovations such as chemical recycling will be essential to achieving these goals.”

These aggressive targets put the Canadian plastics industry in line with PlasticsEurope and the American Chemistry Council, who recently announced similar ambitions.

Canada has indicated that it will use its G7 presidency to push an international zero-plastics waste charter. But it is also expected to commit to a national plastics strategy, said Ashley Wallis, plastics program manager for Environmental Defence.

“While there’s no doubt we need co-ordinated international efforts to eliminate the flow of plastics into our ocean, we need to make sure we do our part at home,” she added.

“We’re trying to provide a bit of an expectations document for what we hope to see in a national plastics strategy hopefully later this year.”

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, less than 11% of plastics are currently recycled in Canada — only slightly better than the international average of 9%.

Wallis said single-use plastics are particularly problematic, because of the huge scale on which they are produced and how quickly they go from use to disposal.