Canadian Plastics

Nova, Merlin Plastics partner to use curbside recycling for consumer packaging

Canadian Plastics   

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The collaboration will turn HDPE plastic recyclate into resin for use in everyday products.

In a move that marks its entry into the post-consumer recyclate (PRC) market, Nova Chemicals Corp. is partnering with Canadian recycler Merlin Plastics Supply Inc. to increase the supply of high-quality PCR for consumer packaging.

“Nova is committed to finding new ways to capture its value beyond its first use to drive a plastics circular economy,” Nova president and CEO Luis Sierra said in a Sept. 1 statement. “This partnership with Merlin and our forthcoming suite of PCR-containing resins will help meet our customer and brand owner needs and expand high-quality PCR supply for use in consumer packaging.”

Image Credit: Nova Chemicals Corp.

Many of the world’s leading consumer brands have pledged to increase the amount of PCR content in plastic packaging to an average of 25 per cent by 2025. To meet this global demand for PCR, Calgary-based Nova and Merlin Plastics have teamed up to repurpose the products consumers place in their blue bins. “Today’s recycled polyethylene is mostly used in non-food applications such as detergent bottles and plastic lumber,” Nova said in its statement. “This partnership will turn high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic recyclate into resin for use in everyday products and packaging including food applications. Finding technical solutions to improve the quality and consistency of PCR will help to advance a circular economy.”

Nova is providing financing for a multi-million-dollar project to accelerate Merlin’s expansion into PCR for food contact applications and, in turn, will secure a reliable supply to offer to its customers. The collaboration is one of several that Nova is pursuing to build its PCR offerings with commercial quantities beginning in 2021. Ultimately, Nova plans to offer 100 per cent PCR polyethylene and PCR blended with its virgin grades, including high-quality LLDPE, LDPE, and HDPE.


“We expect demand for PCR to increase tenfold in the next five years based on brand owner sustainability commitments,” said Greg DeKunder, Nova’s vice president, marketing. “We are excited to continue successfully working with our customers on application development as we enter the PCR market.”

Merlin Plastics, headquartered in Vancouver, has two facilities in British Columbia. Merlin Plastics in Gifford, B.C. is a state-of-the-art container sortation plant, one of the largest on the West Coast, where the materials from the curbside blue bins collected in BC and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest get sorted into their respective streams. Merlin Plastics in Delta, B.C. is a processing plant that transforms the various plastic container packaging into recycled plastic pellet. Nova’s funding will expand the equipment in the Delta facility and enhance Merlin’s processing of recyclate for food packaging applications.


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