Feds challenge industry to make PPE more recyclable

OTTAWA – Two new challenges launched through the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program seek to make personal protective equipment (PPE) more compostable, and recyclable.

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC), in collaboration with Environment & Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada (HC), are seeking solutions for the efficient and cost effective recycling of disposable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) waste generated in the Canadian healthcare system.

as well, the NRC, in collaboration with ECCC, HC and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), is seeking solutions for the manufacturing of compostable disposable surgical masks and compostable disposable respirators to be used by healthcare workers.

These challenges will close on November 6 and 17, 2020 respectively.

Through the ISC Challenge Stream, the Government of Canada invites Canadian small and medium sized enterprises to propose innovations that address the requirements of published challenges. Under these two challenges, successful applicants may now receive up to $300,000 to develop a proof of feasibility.

Up to $1 million for prototype

If accepted into Phase 2, companies could receive up to $1 million to develop a working prototype.

The Covid-19 pandemic has generated an increased consumption of disposable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by healthcare workers and by the general public. As of June 29, 2020, it is estimated that approximately 63,000 tons of Covid-19 related PPE will end up as waste.

In November 2018, the Canadian Councils of the Ministers of the Environment (CCME) adopted Canada’s Zero Plastic Waste Strategy to reduce the environmental impact of plastics and promote a circular economy.

To reduce the environmental footprint of PPE in Canada, the Government of Canada is supporting the development of re-usability, alternative materials, improved recyclability and novel recycling technologies, as well as compostability.

Changes to the ISC program to support immediate COVID-19 challenges include: doubling the amount of Phase 1 and Phase 2 challenge awards; awarding challenge grants or contracts to companies that have more than 499 employees; and increasing award amounts under the testing stream to award up to $5M per initial and additional sales contract to support a particular Covid-19 innovation test.