Aided by the addition of thermoformed polystyrene and polyester packaging and molded tubs and lids to some municipal collection programs, Canadians recycled an additional 24 per cent of plastic packaging and products in 2011 compared to 2010, according to a new report released by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.
The increase is the result of more material collected for recycling as well as more companies providing recycling information, the CPIA said. In total, over 268.5 million kilograms of post-consumer plastic was collected for recycling in Canada.
Compared to 2010, the recycled plastic quantities reported for 2011 represent an increase of 19 per cent for bottles (29.3 million kilograms), an increase of 70 per cent for non-bottle rigids (21 million kilograms), and a more modest increase of one per cent for plastic bags and outer wrap (272 thousand kilograms).
The plastic packaging collected for recycling comes from a variety of every-day consumer goods such as plastic bottles, non-bottle rigid plastics (such as deli and dairy containers, bakery, vegetable, fruit containers), plastic film, bags and outer wrap and foam polystyrene.
“This everyday packaging serves an essential purpose by preserving product integrity and once completed the packaging is an excellent resource for new consumer goods,” said Cathy Cirko, the CPIA’s vice president.
Despite the overall good news for 2011, there remains room for improvement. “There is underutilized capacity creating ample opportunity for consumers and businesses to supply our recyclers with more plastics,” CPIA said. “For instance, it is estimated that the film and bag recycling capacity in Canada to be at 38 per cent utilization of the capacity. There is also growth in demand for good quality non-bottle rigid plastic, including PET thermoforms and polyethylene and polypropylene containers and bulky rigid items, as recycled bottle supplies continue to be tight.”
The figures in the CPIA report were provided by Moore Recycling Associates Inc. of Sonoma, Calif.