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Canada’s plastic recycling rate continues to rise


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April 19, 2017 by Canadian Plastics

The amount of post-consumer plastic packaging being recycled across Canada continues to increase, a new report says.

The report, conducted by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and Moore Recycling Associates, notes that Canada’s recycling systems and plastics industry realized an additional 0.4% of plastic recycled in 2015 compared to 2014. “This increase is the result of more plastic products and packaging collected, specifically HDPE (#2) bottles for recycling,” the report said.

In total, at least 322 million kilograms of post-consumer plastic packaging were collected in Canada for recycling, it noted. The reported plastic quantities represent a net increase of 1.3 million kilograms. HDPE natural bottles provided the overall growth in 2015 with an increase of 5.7 million kilograms; all other categories combined had a decrease of 4.4 million kilograms.

“While the net increase is good news, Canadian plastics recyclers want more supply; they have underutilized capacity creating ample opportunity for consumers and businesses to supply our recyclers with more plastics,” the report said.

The study results come from a voluntary survey that is sent out to more than 500 companies that handle recycled plastics in North America. These companies are made up of re-claimers, exporters, brokers, material recovery facilities, and other handlers of used plastics.

Over the last seven years, the study has consistently indicated that Canada’s plastics routinely remain in North America to be processed rather than moving to overseas markets. “We are proud to report that we are seeing slight increases in both the amounts of plastic material collected, up 0.4% (~1.3 million kgs) and reported as reclaimed in Canada, up to 79% (~254 million kgs) from 78%” CPIA president and CEO Carol Hochu said in a statement.

Plastic packaging collected for recycling includes plastic bottles, non-bottle rigid plastics (such as deli, dairy, bakery, and produce containers), and flexible film packaging, such as plastic bags and outer wrap. These materials can be recycled into items such as fleece jackets, new plastic bottles, pipe, pallets, crates and buckets, decking, and other lawn and garden products.