Coalition sets out to improve plastics recycling rates in Canada

A coalition of plastics industry and recycling groups has launched a new initiative to improve recycling and recovery of flexible plastics in Canada.

The Canada Plastics Pact (CPP), the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), Circular Materials, the Circular Plastics Taskforce (CPT), Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ) and The Film and Flexibles Recycling Coalition of the The Recycling Partnership have together launched PRFLEX, which focuses on Canadian household plastic waste.

Lessons from this initiative will also be shared to support recycling in the U.S.

Flexible packaging is recognized for its lightweight, durability, versatility, efficient extension of food shelf-life, and resource efficiency. However, because is often made up of multiple resins and other materials, collection, sortation, and recycling infrastructure challenges need to be addressed to improve its recyclability.

“Our common goal is to increase the use of recycled content in plastic packaging. For that to happen,we need improved sortation and recycling capacities in Canada. This first-of-its-kind initiative represents a stepping stone towards that objective by way of assessing the current situation and designing high performing systems for films and flexibles across the country. We look forward to working together to increase recycling rates and advance a circular economy in Canada,” the PRFLEX leadership team stated in a joint declaration.

With the support of consulting firms NovAxiaInc. and Lichens Recyclability Inc., the group will be implementing the collaboration in four phases. The first phase will aim to gain an understanding of baseline data to determine the percentage of flexible plastic packaging currently being collected and recycled, according to format and type, in each province.

The second phase will identif infrastructure gaps in material recovery facilities (MRFs) and at recyclers.

Third, the group will propose new technologies and optimizing processes to increase capture rates, improve sorting and produce higher quality post-consumer recycled resins.

Finally, the lessons learned will be applied by installing and measuring the performance of the better-suited equipment in select partner facilities.

The groups said they will share more details as they work through the project phases.