Canadian Packaging

Over 95 Per Cent of Canadians Recycle Plastic Bottles

By Canadian Packaging Staff   

Sustainability Fabrication Sustainability Plastic plastic bottles plastic packaging recycling

A study from the Canadian Plastics Industry Association says with the access provided, Canadians can recycle plastic packaging.

According to an updated study—updated Residential Recycling Access for Consumer Plastic Packaging, Feb. 2012—95 per cent of Canadians can recycle their plastic bottles thanks to greater availability of recycling opportunities.

The study, prepared for the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) by CM Consulting, also shows 91 per cent of Canadians with access to recycling, are recycling household tubs and lids used for yogurt containers and other dairy products, which is up from 88 per cent in 2009.

The report also highlights access for PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) non-bottle rigid packaging (such as trays or bakery clamshells), which can now be recycled by 76 per cent of Canadians, three percentage points more than in 2009.

The largest increase in access for a particular material noted in the report is for foamed polystyrene.  Foamed polystyrene for food packaging is now recyclable by 32 per cent of Canadians (an increase of seven percentage points since 2009) and access to recycling for expanded polystyrene protective packaging has more than doubled, increasing from 12 to 31 per cent, in that same time frame.


“We believe that recycling access for foam polystyrene has risen significantly due to advances in affordable technology which can compact the foam material, thereby reducing its volume and improve cost to ship to recyclers,” says Cathy Cirko, vice-president of CPIA.

Also of note, non-foam polystyrene access is slightly higher compared to 2009 at 44 per cent.

Access to recycling of plastic bags and other films is estimated at 56 per cent.

However, the report notes that it has measured ‘access’ as having municipal or private curbside pick up of the material or a drop-off depot where the material is accepted. Plastic bags are accepted at many retail locations across the county so the opportunity to recycle these is likely significantly higher than 56 per cent.

The research team, CM Consulting, visited via web searches and telephone nearly every municipal recycling program in the country and tracked which plastic materials were and were not accepted in either in the municipal curbside, depot drop-off program, beverage container redemption locations, or curbside subscription programs.

This 2011 update provides estimates of recycling access in terms of permanent households covered and as a percent of population. It highlights strengths and weaknesses by province and plastic type, and compares 2011 results with those from a similar study done in 2009.

“We are very pleased that so many Canadians have access to plastics recycling in their communities,” states Carol Hochu, president and chief executive officer of the CPIA.  “We will continue to work with stewardship agencies and municipalities across Canada to help increase awareness, so that more people will recycle, diverting valuable plastic resources, and supporting our recycling industry.”

For more information, contact: Cathy Cirko, Canadian Plastics Industry Association at 905-678-7748 ext 234 or via e-mail at or visit the website at


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