Ending Plastic Waste
We need smart solutions to eliminate plastic waste that focus on recycling and recovering plastics. Governments of all levels must continue to work with industry to support these innovative solutions rather than introducing blanket bans.
Leading the Way to Zero Waste
We can do better to eliminate plastic waste:
Today in Canada, 86% of plastics end up in landfills. This is due to issues with sorting, cleaning plastics prior to recycling and adopting the technologies and infrastructure we need to truly make a difference in eliminating plastic waste
Plastic waste costs us billions of dollars. By not recovering plastic materials, we’ve wasted $7.8 billion per year. By 2030, that amount will be $11.1 billion. Canada can become a leader in plastics recycling and grow our economy.
Many provinces don’t have standard recycling programs, leading to confusion among different municipalities and decreasing the amount of plastics recycled. We need harmonized recycling systems across jurisdictions.
One piece of plastic waste in the environment is one too many. Canada’s plastics industry is committed to solving the plastic waste problem and has set a goal to make 100% of plastic packaging recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and embracing advanced recycling technologies to make plastics packaging 100% recovered and recycled by 2040.
By making plastics completely recyclable and transforming waste into new plastic items and other products, we can help Canada realize its goal of zero plastic waste.
Canadians are doing their part to recycle, but we need better infrastructure to make sure that all plastics are recycled. Without a modern, improved recycling system, we cannot handle our current waste and many plastics that could be repurposed end up discarded. There are already examples of how to improve recycling programs and infrastructure. In British Columbia, businesses that create plastic products help fund the non-profit which manages all of the province’s recycling. They’ve had the most success in Canada, with a 78% rate of waste recovery. We can replicate this across the country with more business and government partnership.
Smart solutions will transform our use of plastics into a circular model. This means that we will continually reuse plastic to recover the full value from the resource. Traditional recycling technology only enables us to turn some types of used plastic into new plastic items. Canada’s chemistry and plastics sector has worked to develop advanced recycling, which will break down most types of plastics into its molecular components and can reuse these as the building blocks for new plastic items and other products.
Canada Needs a Circular Economy of Plastics
Coordinated and collaborative waste strategy
Instead of banning specific products, governments at all levels must continue to collaborate with businesses, scientists and industry leaders to create further innovative solutions that will deliver a waste free future to Canada. This collaboration and the innovation that comes from it will create additional jobs and opportunities.
We can work towards a harmonized waste strategy by supporting policies that foster a circular economy for plastics. This approach would move Canadians away from using plastics and simply discarding them. Instead, a circular economy for plastics supports recycling plastics and transforming them into new products and supports the direction set out in the Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste developed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). Under this joint Federal and Provincial strategy, Canada would move towards a zero plastic waste economy, creating 42,000 jobs and saving $500 million annually.