Canadian Packaging

Plastic packaging recycling up in Canada

The recycling of plastic packaging increases by 15 per cent over the last year of results.


June 12, 2012
by Canadian Packaging Staff

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) has released a new report—2010 Postconsumer Plastics Recycling in Canada—stating that Canadian’s and their recycling efforts have increased the amount of post-consumer plastic packaging being recycled across country.

The CPIA, a national voice of Canada’s plastics industry, representing the interests of processors, material suppliers, equipment manufacturers and brand owners across the country, says that an additional 15 per cent of plastic packaging was recycled in 2010 compared to 2009 as reported by Moore Recycling Associates Inc. who created the report.

This increase is the result of more material collected for recycling as well as more companies providing recycling information.  In total, over 217 million kilograms of post-consumer plastic packaging were collected for recycling in Canada.

The results are derived from a survey of over 500 companies that are handling recycled plastics in North America. These companies are made up of reclaimers, exporters, brokers, MRFs (Material Recovery Facilities) and other handlers of used plastics.

“We are elated that around 70 per cent of the plastic packaging collected, was recycled in Canada. This amounts to more than 149 million kilograms,” says CPIA president and chief executive officer Carol Hochu. “We are building a recycling industry in Canada, re-using valuable plastic materials and creating jobs to grow the economy.”

The types of plastic packaging collected for recycling includes: plastic bottles, non-bottle rigid plastics such as deli and dairy containers, bakery, vegetable, fruit containers, and plastic film, bags and outer wrap.

The CPIA notes that these resources are reused by other companies to manufacture items like fleece jackets, new plastic bottles, pipe, pallets, crates and buckets, decking and other lawn and garden products.

The plastic recycled quantities reported for 2010 by Moore and Associates Inc. compared to 2009 results represent an increase of 13 percent for bottles—a total of 150 million kilograms; an increase of six per cent for non-bottle rigid—almost 30 million kilograms; and an increase of 36 per cent for plastic bags and outer wrap—nearly 37 million kilograms.

The report found that a greater than 50 per cent increase in plastic film and bags collected for recycling from commercial businesses. In addition, of the total film and bags recovered, one-third came from consumer curbside recycling programs across Canada.

CPIA continues to work with partners and stakeholders across Canada to increase recycling opportunities and it appears to be paying off.

And even better, Canadian recyclers of plastics need more supply admitting they are underutilized capacity—meaning there is still greater opportunity for consumers and businesses to supply our recyclers with more plastics.

For instance, it is estimated that the film and bag recycling capacity in Canada to be at 38 per cent utilization of capacity, while the non-bottle rigid recycling capacity is at a 47 per cent utilization.

“Given the large access to plastic recycling collection programs across Canada, we are calling upon consumers and businesses to participate in them. Used plastics are valuable resources to be re-manufactured into new products,” CPIA vice-president Cathy Cirko.

Revealing how much post-consumer plastic was reclaimed domestically in Canada or the U.S. and how much was exported overseas, the report can be downloaded: HERE.

For more information and resources on increasing plastics recycling, please visit: www.plastics.ca/recycling.