Canadian Plastics

Recycling of plastic packaging across Canada continues to increase: report

For the third year in a row, the amount of post-consumer plastic packaging being recycled across Canada has increased.

March 18, 2014   Canadian Plastics

For the third year in a row, the amount of post-consumer plastic packaging being recycled across Canada has increased.

According to a new report prepared by Moore Recycling Associates for the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), an additional 10 per cent of plastic packaging was recycled in 2012 compared to 2011, an increase resulting from material collected for recycling as well as more companies providing recycling information. In total, over 285 million kilograms of post-consumer plastic packaging was collected for recycling in Canada, the report said. The plastic recycled quantities reported for 2012 compared to 2011 represent an increase of 3% for bottles (for a total of 174.7 million kilograms), an increase of 29% for non-bottle rigids (for a total of 35.6 million kilograms), an increase of 18% for plastic bags and outer wrap (for a total of almost 44 million kilograms) and an increase of 24% for polystyrene foam (for a total of 926,000 kilograms).

The results are derived from an extensive survey of companies that handle recycled plastics in North America. These companies are made up of manufacturers, re-claimers, exporters, brokers and material recovery facilities.

PET and HDPE make up the majority of postconsumer plastic recycled in Canada, the report said. Almost all of the PET is from bottles (95%). HDPE is 68% bottles, 23% non-bottle rigid and 9% film. The third largest resin is LDPE, made up primarily of film (98%), followed closely by PP, which is made up of 84% non-bottle rigid and 16% bottle material.


The survey also noted that Canadian recyclers of plastics want more supply; they have underutilized capacity creating ample opportunity for consumers and businesses to supply recyclers with more plastics. The report estimated that the film and bag recycling capacity in Canada increased from 38% to 49% utilization of the capacity and non- bottle rigid recycling capacity went from 47% to 60% capacity utilization.

For 2012, Moore Recycling estimated the film and bag reclamation capacity in Canada at

51 million kilograms, with a 49% utilization of the capacity. The major end use for recycled film in Canada is new film and sheet, unlike the U.S., where lumber and decking is the primary end use. Additional end uses in Canada (and the U.S.) reported in 2011 are automotive applications, pipe, lawn and garden products, and some injection molded articles.

“We are seeing a greater interest and increase in recycling access to collect and recycle plastics of all types across Canada,” said Cathy Cirko, vice president of the Toronto-based CPIA. “We are committed to our efforts to work with governments, industry, and consumers to increase recycling participation.”

The full report can be viewed at this link.

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