Canada’s plastic packaging recycling rate sees 3% growth
At least 320.7 million kilograms of post-consumer plastic were collected in Canada for recycling in 2014.
While recycling rates in general across Canada are stagnant, the plastics industry realized an additional 3% of plastic recycled in 2014 compared to 2013, a new report said.
The report – compiled by Moore Recycling Associates Inc. and released by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) – attributed the rise to the result of more plastic packaging collected for recycling, specifically plastic bags and film and HDPE (#2) bottles. In total, the report said, at least 320.7 million kilograms of post-consumer plastic were collected in Canada for recycling.
The reported plastic quantities represent an increase of 800,000 kilograms for bottles and an increase of 7.8 million kilograms for bags and film, in large part because of plastic bags and film that are collected through curbside recycling programs.
The results are derived 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 reclaimers, exporters, brokers, material recovery facilities (MRFs) and other handlers of used plastics.
This year’s data, along with that of previous years, consistently indicates that material collected in Canada routinely remains in North America rather than moving to overseas markets. “We are proud to report that 78% of the plastic material reported was reclaimed in Canada or the U.S.,” said CPIA president and CEO Carol Hochu. “This amounts to more than 250 million kilograms.”
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 overwrap. These valuable resources are recycled into many new useful items such as fleece jackets, new plastic bottles, pipe, pallets, crates, buckets, decking, and other lawn and garden products.
“While a 3% increase may not seem like much, it is important to remember that we are seeing continued improvement in the lightweighting of packaging, so to realize any increase means that a larger volume of plastics were recovered,” said Krista Friesen, vice president of sustainability at CPIA.