Canadian Packaging

Circularity leaders launch PRFLEX, an unprecedented collaboration to optimize the recycling system for flexible plastic packaging in Canada

By National   

General

Montreal, May 17, 2023 — 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 are proud to join forces to launch PRFLEX, an initiative aimed at improving the recovery and recycling rates of flexible plastics collected from Canadian households. Learnings from this initiative will also be shared to support recycling in the U.S.

Flexible packaging is recognized for its light weight, durability, versatility, efficient extension of food shelf life, and resource efficiency – thereby offering sustainability advantages. However, given it is often made up of multiple resins and other materials, there are collection, sortation, and recycling infrastructure challenges that 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,” stated the PRFLEX leadership team in a joint declaration.

With the support of well-recognized consulting firms NovAxia Inc. and Lichens Recyclability Inc., the instigating members will be implementing this unprecedented collaboration in four phases:

  • Understanding baseline data to determine the percentage of flexible plastic packaging currently being collected and recycled, according to format and type, in each province.
  • Identifying infrastructure gaps in material recovery facilities (MRFs) and at recyclers.
  • Proposing new technologies and optimizing processes to increase capture rates, improve sorting and produce higher quality post-consumer recycled resins.
  • Applying learnings by installing and measuring the performance of the better-suited equipment in select partner facilities.

Further information will be communicated in the upcoming months as PRFLEX achieves its project milestones.

About the Canada Plastic Pact
The Canada Plastics Pact (CPP) is tackling plastic waste and pollution, as a multi-stakeholder, industry-led, cross-value chain collaboration platform. The CPP brings together partners who are united behind a vision of creating a circular economy in Canada in which plastic waste is kept in the economy and out of the environment. It unites businesses, government, non-governmental organizations, and other key actors in the local plastics value chain behind clear actionable targets for 2025. The CPP is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Global Plastics Pact network. It operates as an independent initiative of The Natural Step Canada, a national charity with over 25 years experience advancing science, innovation, and strategic leadership aimed at fostering a strong and inclusive economy that thrives within nature’s limits.

About the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada
The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada is the association for leaders in Canada’s chemistry and plastic sectors. Chemistry and plastics are the third-largest industry in Canada – responsible for $92 billion in shipments in 2022 and employs 173,200 people. The association represents more than 120 members and partners across the country. We provide coordination and leadership on key issues including innovation, investment, plastics, taxation, health and safety, environment, and regulatory initiatives. CIAC members are audited against the ethics and principles of Responsible Care®, a U.N.-recognized, global chemical ESG. In addition, the CIAC’s Plastics Division focuses on achieving a circular economy and represents the interests of the entire value chain, including resin producers, processors/converters, equipment suppliers, recyclers and brand owners.

About Circular Materials
Circular Materials is a national not-for-profit producer-governed organization established to support producers with meeting their obligations under extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations across Canada. Its full-service offering supports producers with meeting the requirements of EPR recycling regulations. These services include collection, management, promotion and education, and reporting. Established by Canada’s leading food-, beverage-, and consumer-products manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants, Circular Materials is committed to improving recycling by advancing innovation, increasing performance and delivering improved environmental outcomes. Circular Materials also represents the evolution from product stewardship to a more circular economy where materials are collected, recycled, and returned to producers for use as recycled content in new products and packaging. More information can be found at www.circularmaterials.ca.

About the Circular Plastics Taskforce
The Circular Plastics Taskforce (CPT) seeks to promote the implementation of a circular economy for post-consumer plastics in Quebec and throughout Canada. The CPT aims to improve the alignment between end markets’ needs for recycled resins and the recycling value chain, by identifying and implementing concrete optimization solutions that can be deployed in the short and medium term. The founding members of the CPT are Cascades, Danone Canada, Dyne-a-pak, Keurig Dr Pepper Canada, TC Transcontinental, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) and Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ). For more details on the CPT, visit www.gapc.ca.

About Éco Enterprises Québec
Since 2005, Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ), a private nonprofit organization, has represented producers of containers, packaging, and printed matter with regard to their financial responsibilities pertaining to curbside recycling. Designated as Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) in 2022, ÉEQ is the contract giver for the management of curbside recycling in Quebec with a view to sustainable development. As a leader in extended producer responsibility (EPR), ÉEQ develops and manages circular economy solutions it recommends to its member producers so they can reduce their environmental footprint. To achieve this, ÉEQ puts ecodesign, recyclability and traceability at the core of all actions with its partners. ÉEQ will continue its role as certified organization throughout the transition from the compensation plan to curbside recycling EPR.

About The Recycling Partnership
At The Recycling Partnership, we are solving for circularity. As a mission-driven NGO, we are committed to advancing a circular economy by building a better recycling system. We mobilize people, data, and solutions across the value chain to reduce waste and our impact on the environment while also unlocking economic benefits. We work on the ground with thousands of communities to transform under-performing recycling programs; we partner with companies to achieve packaging circularity, increase access to recycled materials, and meet sustainability commitments; and we work with government to develop policy solutions to address the systemic needs of our residential recycling system and advance a circular economy. We foster public-private partnerships and drive positive change at every step of the recycling and circularity process. Since 2014, we have diverted 770 million pounds of new recyclables from landfills, avoided more than 670,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, and driven significant reductions in targeted contamination rates. Learn more at recyclingpartnership.org.

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